House roof on fire because the roof was not made of fire resistant roofing materials

Best Fire Resistant Roofing Materials

The dry climate in Southern California and Southern Nevada along with the strong winds make the entire region highly prone to wildfires. When building, renovating or re-roofing a home in these areas be sure you and your builder select quality, fire-resistant materials, especially for your roof. The roof plays an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of your home, so it’s important to keep it safe and intact. Of course, due to its large surface area, a roof is highly vulnerable in the event of a fire. Burning embers can easily blow over and settle on rooftops. Radiant heat from large fires can cause roof materials to hit their flash point, or a temperature at which they self-ignite. Your roof might also come into contact with open flame if a fire moves into your area. Using quality fire-resistant roofing materials gives the entire structure a better chance of surviving a fire.

Roofing Fire Ratings 101

Roofing materials go through strenuous testing to determine a fire rating. This includes checking if the material is combustible, whether it will splinter and generate flying firebrands (i.e. burning pieces of debris), and if flames can spread across its surface. Class A roofing materials are typically non-combustible, can withstand severe fire exposure, and don’t produce firebrands. Class B roofing is made of combustible materials that are treated with chemicals to make them more fire retardant. Class C roofing is made up of things like untreated wood shakes and shingles, which will only survive light fire damage. Many communities in fire-prone areas ban Class B and Class C roofing materials for safety reasons.

What Are the Most Fire-Resistant Roofing Materials?

A fire-resistant roof includes the entire roofing system, including the deck, insulation, underlayment, and even the roof incline. The roof sheathing material plays a large role in preventing ignition and slowing the spread of fire to other parts of the building.Here are some popular roofing materials to provide Class A protection for your home.

Good Fire Resistant Roofing Materials

New gray slate roof in Las Vegas view from atop roof installed by Prestige Roofing

Slate

This natural stone tile is beautiful, durable, and non-combustible. However, slate is also an extremely heavy material, so you have to make sure your roof can support the weight. Additionally, slate tile is expensive and requires specialized knowledge for proper installation.

Clay Tile

Clay tile is another non-combustible option. It’s a popular choice for Southwestern, mission, or Spanish-style architecture. However, for optimal fire protection, it does require a bit of upkeep, particularly the barrel-shaped tiles, as there can be gaps between the underlayment and the tile sheathing. If these gaps aren’t plugged, embers can get blown in, bypassing the Class A protection of the tiles, and spread to the structural support beams.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles, like clay, are non-combustible. They can be a good choice in terms of durability, fire-resistance, and cost-effectiveness. Today’s concrete tiles come in many colors, finishes and shapes for an attractive look to your roof. Like clay tiles, a concrete tile roof must be installed correctly. LIke clay, regular inspection by your roofer for misplaced tiles or other problems will help it retain its maximum fire resistance.

Asphalt Shingles

Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles provide good fire protection when they’re installed with a fire-resistant underlayment. They’re relatively inexpensive, but also require more upkeep than other options.

Best Fire Resistant Roofing

Two roofing materials, in particular, combine Class A fire-resistance, style, low maintenance and durability.

Metal

Luxury home at night with beautiful fire resistant copper roof

Metal roofing is non-combustible and offers Class A protection in combination with a fire-resistant underlayment. It’s lightweight, won’t corrode, and requires little maintenance. Metal roofing can be made from copper, zinc and steel, as well as various alloys, and comes in a variety of finishes, colors, and designs. Even better, most types of metal roofing are heat reflective and meet Energy Star efficiency requirements — making them a great option for the Las Vegas desert climate.

CeDUR

Vintage Las Vegas home restored with CeDUR shake roofing

Natural wood shakes are a popular roofing choice for their natural look and beauty, but are prohibited in many fire-prone communities for safety concerns. Fortunately, there is now a synthetic option on the market called CeDUR which replicates the look of natural cedar shakes and tiles but is designed with high fire resistance. CeDUR tiles self-extinguish and create minimal heat transfer, which helps prevent the spread of flames across the surface of the roof.

CeDUR tiles are also rated for impact and high winds, and won’t rot or split — unlike natural wood or asphalt shingles.

Other Tips for Reducing the Risk of a Roof Fire

Simple maintenance can go a long way to help mitigate the risk of a roof fire. Periodically inspect the condition of your roof, checking for gaps in the tiles, areas where shingles have fallen away, or where the surface is damaged. Also, make sure to remove wind-blown debris, such as leaves and pine needles that accumulate on your roof and in gutters.It’s important to have a fire-resistant roof when living in a fire-prone area like Las Vegas. By choosing Class A roofing materials and keeping up with maintenance, you can help prevent fires from destroying your home. If you have any questions, contact the experts at Prestige Roofing. We will help you find the right option to match your style and budget.

Custom copper roofing design elevated over luxury las vegas home

We’re all familiar with flat roofs, which are found on all types of buildings. But, is a flat roof the right choice for your building? Flat roofs are different from the more decorative sloped roofs found on homes and small buildings, but they have a lot of advantages in particular situations and may be the right solution for a new building. When a flat roof is the right choice, or when replacing an old flat roof, there are different types of flat roofing materials available to meet the needs of building owners and managers.

Why Flat Roofs?

Flat roof with skylight and hydro insulation membranes

Flat roofs have a number of advantages that make them the best choice for specific types of buildings.  Larger buildings and ones that need to have regular activity on the rooftop are ideal for flat roofs that are lighter, generally less costly to install and provide easy access.

One important factor to understand is that flat roofs are not completely flat. They are usually slightly sloped to allow for precipitation to drain off. Still, with drainage slower than on a higher slope roof, most flat roofs have to be regularly maintained in order to be sure that the roof material is kept watertight and sealed to prevent leaks and damage to the building below. Flat roofs should have a thorough annual inspection to look for problems and reseal surfaces damaged by UV rays or moisture.

Commercial Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are familiar to most of us on commercial buildings where convenience, accessibility, safety and cost are factors in choosing a flat roof solution. Most flat roof materials are lighter and less expensive than the materials used on more decorative sloped roofs. For large buildings, flat roofing is a much more practical solution, avoiding excessive weight on the building’s frame, and also lowering construction costs. Industrial, warehouse, retail, hotels and similar commercial buildings often have multiple HVAC and other systems installed on the roof where maintenance personnel must have quick access, day or night. Having a flat roof makes it much easier to access these roof elements for maintenance and repairs.  Air conditioners and other systems may be placed on the roof, saving valuable space within the building. And, for roofers and other workers accessing the roof, a flat roof means less chance of worker injury from a slip on a sloped roof.

High Rise Buildings

built up high rise flat roof with garden and tiled walkways
sky garden on rooftop of condominium with blue sky

Of course, flat roofs are also commonly used for high rise residential and office buildings in urban settings, where service access is also important. And, from a design and space optimization point of view, urban building roof space is cherished as outdoor space where occupants and guests enjoy access to sunlight and fresh air. High rise apartments, condos and hotels may even build out their roofs to include rooftop gardens, adding attractive lighting, eating areas and even areas for sports activities or a swimming pool. With a flat roof, design options are only limited by the imagination.

Flat roofs are also found in single family homes and other small buildings where climate, style, design and budget make them the right option. They tend to be most practical in areas like the dry southwest where there will be little rain and no snow load for the roof to handle. Flat roofs may be part of a green energy efficient home solution, with accommodation for solar panels or a green roof covered in living plants.

Top 4 Flat Roof Materials

Now that we know where a flat roof makes sense, let’s examine the differences between the four types of flat roofs that are commonly used.

PVC Membrane

PVC flat roof installation with roofer in hard hat cutting the PVC waterproofing material
Waterproofing and insulation at construction site waterproofing membrane preventing water penetration. Exterior vapor barrier for foundations and basements.

Both flexible and easily-customizable, a PVC membrane flat roof is constructed from what is known as a scrim, which is basically a flexible, heavy duty, non-woven polyester fabric that creates a bonded seal and is also fire retardant. The scrim is laminated in a UV-resistant PVC thermoplastic.

Lightweight in nature, a PVC roof will not add weight to the existing structure. As a result, PVC can be installed directly over an existing system. This means there is less material that needs to be dumped into a landfill.

PVC roofing is durable and highly reliable. It has the ability to resist high temperatures, dirt and strong winds.

Built-Up Roof (BUR)

Tar and grvel built up flat roof with skylights and HVAC systems
Flat Roof With Gravel and Skylight Windoows

The Built-up Roof, or (BUR) is a roof made essentially of hot tar and gravel. Layers of hot tar are applied between at least 3 layers of waterproof ply sheets. On top of this, a layer of smooth river stones or gravel are applied.

Ideal for commercial buildings, the biggest advantage of a BUR roof is that it is very affordable. Another plus is that a BUR roof is able to meet higher fire ratings than other roofing materials, as gravel is naturally fire-retardant.

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to a BUR flat roof. The first is the telltale smell of asphalt, which many find undesirable. Messy to install, a BUR roof is also very difficult to remove. Tar and gravel make this type of roof very heavy in nature, which will put extra stress on the structure of a building.

Rubber Membrane

Historically popular, a rubber membrane, also known as EPDM, flat roof is both durable and lightweight. However, it should be noted that EPDM tends to be less puncture resistant than PVC. With that being said, the recyclability of both options is about the same.

One disadvantage of using a rubber membrane roof in a warmer climate is that it is naturally dark in color, making this choice more prone to absorbing heat.

TPO Roof

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefinis) is a blend of two different types of rubber. It is white in color, giving it an energy saving advantage as it reflects sunlight. This translates into dollars saved in cooling costs.

Very easy to install, a TPO roof can either be fully adhered or mechanically-attached to the deck of a roof. Extremely flexible, TPO’s versatility surpasses other roofing materials, without it losing its durability.

Low Slope Metal Roofing

gallery-copper-roof-16

For beauty, quality and design, none of these choices can approach metal roofing, a durable and decorative alternative to traditional flat roof materials. Metal roofing is highly durable and needs little maintenance. The beauty of copper, zinc and aluminum roofs is undeniable, and they all are highly weather resistant. They are also energy efficient, reflecting the rays of the sun for a cooler interior, and of course they are recyclable. Metal roofs are popular on homes and business looking to increase the beauty and value of the property. Metal can be formed into shapes to create unique, custom and beautiful roofs, roofing or standalone fixtures, overhangs, gutters and other elements that make your home stand out from the crowd.

Prestige Offers Flat Roofing in Las Vegas

No matter which type of flat or other roof you are considering, don’t trust just anyone to do the work for you. Find a reliable and trained professional roofer to help make sure your new roof is the right one for your building, and that it is installed correctly using the right materials to avoid costly damage down the road. For the best residential and commercial roofing services in Las Vegas, contact Prestige Roofing today for a free estimate.

Winter snow on a tile roof

Sometimes we may delay making roof repairs or improvements, or having roof replacement work done on our house until suddenly we realize it can’t wait. Maybe an event like a storm or fire, or the discovery of an underlying problem happens suddenly needs attention right away. Winter, in many parts of the country, may seem like a bad time to build a new roof or get a roof repaired, but it can’t always be avoided. And, it doesn’t have to be.

The truth is, you can have your roof repaired and even replaced in the winter with little risk to your project or your pocketbook. While the work can be more challenging for roofers, there are many ways they adapt their work to the weather.  In some ways, roofing in the winter may even have advantages to the homeowner, and the roofer as well.

Advantages of Roofing in Winter

There is little need to delay getting your roof replaced or repaired just because it is winter. One good reason to complete your winter roofing project is that if your roof is leaking or is not energy efficient, the quicker you fix the problem, the less damage your house will sustain and the faster you can stop wasting money.

Some homeowners may find that scheduling roofing work in the winter is easier and may even cost less. In some areas, building slows down in winter. Roofers have more availability and can schedule the job faster, which means your work is done sooner. You can take advantage of the slower winter months to get more quotes from more contractors and find the best and most reliable company. Roofing companies appreciate your business in winter because they can keep their roofers working year round.

Considerations for Winter Roofing

The ability to complete winter roofing in cold climates can be impacted by the weather, as well as things like the pitch of your roof and the type of roofing or roof materials. Areas of heavy snows and frigid temperatures will be the most challenging. Roofers are aware of the characteristics and limitations of the materials they use. They may make adjustments to the schedule or suggest different materials if the weather is extremely cold.

Flat Roofs

roofer installing bitumen flat roof with heat during winter

The pitch of your roof matters. Flat roofs, which are used for many commercial roof systems, will accumulate more snow and may be harder to access in winter.  One common flat roofing material, EPDM rubber roofing, must be installed at 40 degrees or warmer. Colder than that and the adhesive that is used to seal the roof won’t bond correctly. Modified bitumen roofing, a type of asphalt roofing system, is a tried and true system whose seams are sealed using hot air, so the ambient temperature is not as important. Single layer flat roofing systems, such as KEE roofing membranes, are high strength and very durable. These roofs perform very well in cold weather and under snow loads. For repairs, your roofer will be able to determine the type of flat roof and how the work can go forward during the winter months.

Sloped Roofs

Most roofs are sloped to allow for water runoff and snow shed. The angle of the roof can affect how fast it sheds snow. It also impacts worker safety, especially if ice is a possibility. A high sloped roof will be harder to work on in snowy and icy conditions than one that is gently sloped. There are many choices for sloped roof materials, and they also may be impacted by winter weather. Here are some considerations about materials and winter roofing.

Asphalt Shingles

In most areas of the country, the most common roofing material for a sloped roof is asphalt shingles. The most important thing to consider when installing these shingles is the thermometer. The lowest temperature recommended for installing most asphalt shingles is 40 degrees, or the shingles will not bond well. Asphalt shingles may be affected by cold temperatures. In warm weather, the shingles are flexible and pliable. In cold weather, they become brittle and may chip and break, wasting shingles and therefore wasting money. Asphalt shingles awaiting installation should be stored indoors if the weather will approach 40 degrees or lower. When they are out of storage, they must be kept flat or they may break.

Concrete Tile

Southern Highlands 024-reclaimed tile

Concrete tile roofing handles large temperature swings, like those in Las Vegas and the Desert Southwest, very well. Concrete has air pockets that allow it to breathe and not crack in extreme temperatures. Concrete tile roofing can be installed year round although not at below freezing temperatures to allow the sealants to dry properly.

Metal Roofing

Another good roofing material for sloped roofs is a metal roof. Copper, aluminum, zinc or steel, a metal roof won’t crack or split no matter how cold it gets. Metal roofs are ideal to install during the winter since there is no need for a bond that has to cure and seal. Instead, installers put a breathable underlayment down on the roof which is intended to prevent moisture from getting between the metal and the roof. Since metal contracts with cold and expands in heat, installers may prefer not to install when temperatures are below freezing so as to avoid the chance of any warping of the metal as the weather warms up.

Sensible Safety Precautions for Roofing in Winter

roofers at work in winter dressed for the cold

Once your roofer is ready to start, he will watch the weather carefully.  Snow and ice can be dangerous and cause workers to slip, so work may be delayed or stopped temporarily to wait for safer conditions. Workers are always equipped and trained to use OSHA approved safety equipment to prevent slips and falls. A good roofer will keep an eye on weather forecasts and build extra time into the project schedule to allow for bad weather interference.

It’s important not to delay roof work any time of year, especially in winter. Even a slightly damaged roof can suddenly become a big (and more expensive) problem if it’s hit with heavy snow, rain or high winds. Winter is a slower time for builders and roofers, so it’s a great time to get an inspection, repair or roof replacement taken care of quickly.

Winter Roofing in Las Vegas

custom copper roofing and fixtures in Las Vegas

Living in Southern Nevada offers homeowners advantages when it comes to scheduling roof repair and roof replacement. We have the pleasure of clear and sunny days pretty much year round. However, with colder, shorter days in winter and sometimes gusty winds, winter roof repair and replacement can still be a challenge.

At Prestige Roofing, with over 25 years of service to the Las Vegas Valley, we’re experienced with year round roofing. We work around our infrequent weather disruptions and keep your project on track. If overnight lows have made it dangerous to work early in the morning or if early sunset means shorter work days, we work around those delays to keep your job on track.

Let Prestige Roofing put our winter roofing experience to work for you.  If you need roof repairs or a new roof in Las Vegas or anywhere in Southern Nevada, contact Prestige Roofing at 702-646-7536 to find out how we can help you—winter, spring, summer or fall.

New tile roof on large suburban home in Henderson Nevada aerial shot

Whether you’ve been in your home a while, or you just bought an existing home, your home will probably need a roof replacement sooner or later. Facing such a large project can be confusing and time-consuming, not to mention expensive. The process is made much simpler when you know what to expect. You’ll be able to make decisions and choices with more confidence, ask better questions and get a better roof for your investment.

If your roof is older and looking a bit worn, start preparing for a roof replacement now. No matter how far away the replacement is, it’s always good to start a roofing budget with a little money set aside each month. This will make this one time project easier to afford and let you be ready when it’s time to buy the right roof for your home and not have to settle for something that might not be up to the job of protecting your home. Read up on the reroofing process and learn about types of roofing materials you will be able to choose from.  Like most things in life, the project will go a lot better if you plan ahead.

Here are the basics you should know before you start obtaining bids from roofing contractors and beginning the process of roof replacement.

Why a Timely Roof Replacement is a Smart Move

old tile roof on Las Vegas home ready for roof replacement

A sound roof protects your home’s interior, including insulation, walls, HVAC, electrical system, window frames and doors, kitchen cabinetry and flooring, even your belongings, like furniture, electronics and artwork. Ongoing roof problems due to wear and tear or other damage, can sometimes result in disaster. Waiting until it’s too late and a flood or other failure occurs, will only increase the cost of replacing the roof and restoring your home, including extra work to repair structural damage below the roof, including the layers beneath the roof.

In addition to protecting and securing your home against storm damage, water leaks, mold or other costly damage, the benefits of a new roof can help pay for the roof installation itself. A new roof will look great and enhance the curb appeal and sales value of your home. Your home will be easier to sell as potential buyers will know that a roof replacement is not in their near future.  You may be eligible for an insurance discount on you homeowners’ policy (check with your agent). And, a new roof may help you achieve greater energy efficiency, lowering utility bills and increasing the comfort of your home for years to come.

The Roof Replacement Process

Here are the steps of the process of planning and executing your Las Vegas roof replacement project:

1. Hiring a Qualified Roofing Contractor

Validate the contractor’s credentials before you agree to any work. Contact your state’s licensing board or check their website to confirm that the contractor you choose is licensed and properly insured. Also, check the Better Business Bureau record for comments, complaints, legal actions and reviews. You can also check online reviews to see what your neighbors are saying.

2. Roofing Bid Process

Roofing contractors will inspect your existing roof, take measurements, and assess any detectable damage. The roofing quote should include:

  • A breakdown of all estimated charges
  • A description, quantity and per unit price of materials
  • Pictures of problem areas of your roof, if any
  • Estimated start date and completion date
  • Roofer’s license and contact information

Ask the contractors about additional charges that may not appear on the estimate, such as dumpster rental fees, clean up and debris removal, checking the property for dropped nails, or other costs not included in their bids. Roofer should also readily provide his insurance information.

The contractor should provide you with materials samples and roofing prices factoring various materials options you are considering.

3. Roof Replacement Permit and Inspection

You may need a building permit before starting the project. The roofer should be willing to assist in this process and guarantee the roof will satisfy the requirements of the permit. Whether you or your contractor is the party responsible for obtaining a permit for the roofing project, an inspection by your local municipality or county building construction authority will be conducted after your new roof is installed. The inspector will determine whether or not the new roof is in compliance with local building codes.. Be sure to save your approval after the roof inspection in case it is requested when you sell your home later.

The Roofing Project

Showcase Las Vegas home with luxury pool and metal roof

Change Orders

Change orders can occur due to discoveries made after the roofing work begins, such as:

Underlying Damage — The contractor’s initial inspection may not discover all the underlying problems. After the existing roofing material has been removed, hidden damage is sometimes found and the cost of roof replacement can increase. Examples of damage that may be discovered after the roofing work begins can include things like rotten wood threatening the stability of beams or roof decking or leaks around a chimney or roof vents.

Elective Repairs — A decision you may make during the project to allow replacement of worn gutters, soffit repairs or replacements, etc.

Your contractor should provide a written quote for any change orders and get your approval before doing the work.

Occupant Safety during a Roofing Project

On the day work is scheduled to begin and throughout the roofing project, follow safety procedures by keeping children and pets inside or off of the property entirely while roofing work is being done. An experienced roofing contractor will have a safety procedure in place and sufficient supervision to help ensure that everyone involved remains safe throughout the project.

Roofing Materials Options

tile roof ventilation fixture

Your selection of roofing materials can depend on various factors. For example, in some regions, Spanish-style clay tile roofs are popular, while in other areas metal roofing is a smart choice due to its fire resistant advantage and aesthetic appeal. Some roofs have a steep pitch, which allows for the option to use wooden shakes, while shakes are not a practical choice if your roof has a lower pitch.

The most popular options for residential roofing materials include:

  • Asphalt composite shingles
  • Metal roofing
  • Clay or ceramic tile
  • Wood shakes or shingles
  • Synthetic shakes or shingles
  • Slate roofing
  • Composite slate

Tear Off vs. Adding a Second Roof Layer

In some cases, it may make sense to add a second roof on top of an existing one to save time and money. However, even in areas where layering is permitted, you should carefully consider the potential consequences of applying a new layer of roofing material over the old one. Obtain the necessary assurances from local experts regarding the potential for excessive weight, and for repeating (compounding) some of the surface irregularities that may already be present and can cause problems later.

Roofing Cost Factors

Factors in the cost of a roof replacement include your choice of roofing materials (ranging upward from the inexpensive asphalt shingles, to the most expensive natural slate roofing tiles) or adding custom features. Also, the pitch (steepness) of your roof, its square footage, and the contractor you choose are factors in the roof replacement cost. In general, roof replacements generally cost between $8,000-30,000, again depending on the many factors involved.

In many regions of the U.S. the roofing season runs from late spring through early fall. Here in the Southwest, seasonality is less of an issue, even with the heat of summer, but spring and fall are usually busier as people clean up from winter storms in spring, or prepare for the next winter season by getting roof repairs and replacements done in the fall.  Seasonality can affect how long it takes to complete the project as well as influence the price. If you are not in an emergency replacement situation, be sure to ask your roofer about the best time to have your roof replacement done.

The Roofing Process

Hands of roofer laying tile on the roof. Installing natural red tile. Roof with mansard windows.

The overall process of removing and replacing a roof involves these general steps:

  1. Remove existing shingles and place them in a dumpster for disposal. (The contractor should protect your plants and shrubs during tear-off.)
  2. Make minor repairs to the underlying layers of the roof, if it is found in good enough condition. Or, if necessary, replace deteriorated or damaged wood sheathing.
  3. Install ice guard (a synthetic waterproof barrier membrane) in areas vulnerable to water damage.
  4. Lay asphalt roofing paper over sheathing, as a water barrier.
  5. Add metal drip edging around the roof perimeter on eave and gable sides.
  6. Install new flashing in valleys where roof planes meet, if applicable.
  7. Lay tab shingles. Install roof vents as shingle installation progresses toward the roof peak, if applicable.
  8. Apply flashing around areas where leak prevention is necessary—against the chimney, around skylights and stack vents, etc. Or, this may be done as rows of shingles are installed.
  9. Place the ridge vent along the roof peak, or install other types of roof or gable vents, to enable air circulation in the attic.
  10. Finish the final site cleanup, and haul away all debris. (Workers should use magnetic tools to pick up dropped nails and other small bits of roofing metals from the ground around your home.)
  11. Have the new roof inspected and get approval by the local building inspector.

Timeframe for Completing a Roofing Project

The timeframe for completing any roofing project depends on the roof size and configuration, and the type of material being installed. On average, a roof replacement project takes a few days, usually less than a week, but more complex projects, such as custom roofing or very large homes, can take longer.  Keep in mind, too, that unforeseen issues, such as previously hidden damage that requires repair, or inclement weather can prolong the project.

Prestige Roofing, Las Vegas NV

Prestige Roofing team photo in front of their North Las Vegas, NV building

If you are in Las Vegas or Henderson, the professional and experienced team at Prestige Roofing can help with your roof replacement.  Our roofing project representative will make sure you understand the roof replacement process, complete a roof inspection, help you select the right roofing material for your home, work with your budget and schedule, and keep you fully informed throughout the process. We have built our reputation as one of the best roofing companies in Southern Nevada on customer service and high quality results.

For more information on a roof replacement, contact Prestige Roofing, Las Vegas NV, by calling (702) 646-7536 to schedule an appointment for your roof inspection and estimate.

Southwest style tile roof home and garden with new tile roof and roof fixtures

In Las Vegas or anywhere in the Southwest, the combined effects of the desert summer heat, dust, and monsoon rains and winds can take a toll on our roads, buildings and vehicles. Over time, harsh summer weather may crack asphalt, damage paint, tear away window screens and damage other vulnerable parts of our homes. Even our cars experience the effects of direct sun and prolonged dry heat on rubber tires, trim and other components. At home, our roofs can also feel the effects of our summer weather. Roofs need a little extra attention to help them cope with the scorching heat and monsoon storms to make sure they continue to protect our homes, year after year.

The Effects of Summer Sun on Your Roof

Daytime temperatures in Las Vegas consistency average in the low 100s during the summer months, usually with clear skies that allow the white hot sunlight to beat down on everything below. Older roofs that haven’t been maintained can experience damage after years of absorbing the effects of the hot desert sun. Persistent exposure to the Las Vegas sun’s intense UV rays weakens the roof and strips it of flexibility. That can cause it to go through thermal shock, meaning the roof starts expanding and contracting depending on the weather. If this continues, the roof can split, causing extensive damage and requiring costly repairs.

Roof Materials Make a Difference

Roofing damage to asphalt shingles that needs repair showing shingles lifted by wind or heat damage

Asphalt shingle roofs can be vulnerable to sun damage. In general, shingles reflect only around 30% of the sun’s rays. The tiles absorb much of the sun’s heat, some of which enters your home, raising energy costs. The solar rays, in the form of UV radiation, react with the asphalt roofing, causing what used to be gleaming, strong shingles to become brittle and dry. That means the roof is losing its waterproofing abilities as the oils are dissolved by the sun’s rays. This can lead to water seeping under the shingles and leaking into the structure, causing damage to the home.

Many newer types of asphalt tiles are more energy efficient and resilient to heat and the effects of solar radiation, so be sure to discuss the weather resistance and energy efficiency qualities of asphalt shingle roofing you are considering with your roofer before deciding.

Tile is the go-to material in many sunny, hot climates, including Las Vegas. A correctly-installed, quality concrete or clay tile roof will last many decades if it is properly maintained. The material is naturally insulating and energy efficient, keeping your home cooler in summer. It is highly resistant to solar rays and, if not weakened or damaged, holds up well to monsoon rains and winds.

Metal roofs also do very well in hot areas as they naturally reflect most of the sun’s heat so your home interior stays cooler. They are highly durable and damage-resistant.  When there is a problem with metal roofing, such as buckling in high winds or water leaks, it is due to improper installation. Always choose a roofer who is qualified and experienced in installing metal roofing – or whatever type of roofing you have chosen – to avoid future costly repairs due to use of the wrong materials or techniques during installation.

Summer Sun and Roof Ventilation

tile roof ventilation fixture

Roof ventilation is an essential component of good roof design and construction. When it gets hot, heat needs some way to escape from the home. An improperly ventilated roof causes hot air to remain trapped in the attic and forces the air conditioner to work harder to cool the home.

In winter, poor ventilation allows moisture to build up in the roof material in the attic, where rot and mold may develop. When temperatures fall below freezing, warm inside air trapped in the attic may cause snow or ice along the edges of the roof to melt and run into the gutter and refreeze. That could eventually lead to a dangerous ice situation around the home.

Have your roofer make sure that your roof ventilation system is properly installed and working well. This will help keep your energy costs down and allow your roof to better handle weather extremes and avoid damage due to poor ventilation.

Las Vegas Monsoon Season and Your Roof

lightning over the roof of the house and dark clouds

The cumulative damage caused by the sun may leave your roof vulnerable when Las Vegas’ monsoon season arrives. The desert Southwest experiences heavy downpours and even hail during this time. Roofs are more exposed to water damage if the roof has lost its waterproofing abilities. In addition, any damaged or warped roof shingles may allow the roof to leak. And, damaged, loose shingles may not be able to stand up to a heavy round of wind or a severe hailstorm.

Dust and Wind Storms

A monsoon season dust storm at sunset near Las Vegas over some tract homes in the desert

The dust storms capable of inspiring beautiful desert photography can cause some much less attractive damage to your roof. These swirling storms bring with them heavy winds carrying dust and grime, coating everything and potentially destabilizing or ripping away parts of your roof structure already left vulnerable by the sun and rain.

Dust storms are a part of life in much of the Southwest. A well-maintained and well-insulated roof that does not leak will help avoid damage and keep flying dust from entering your attic and home.

The Importance Of Roof Inspections

Regular roof inspections give homeowners a chance to fix small problems before they become costly. A good inspector will go over the entire roof and recommend any roof repairs that are needed to make sure your roof is ready for the summer season. If you’re in the market for a new roof, your roofer can help you make the right roof material selection that holds up best in your local climate. Using the right roof materials will also help keep your home interior more comfortable and energy costs down by properly managing the transfer of heat and cold.

Common Roof Inspection Techniques

New gray slate roof in Las Vegas view from atop roof installed by Prestige Roofing

A good roofer will look over your entire roof and inspect for things such as:

  • Identify patches of brittle, broken or cupped (buckling) shingles
  • Locate holes in and underneath your roof
  • Check for spaces in flashing located along your walls and chimney
  • Spot nearby trees and branches putting your roof at risk
  • Inspect ventilation
  • Look for pooling, stains or other signs of leaks
  • Check inside your attic for signs of problems

Make sure you give your roof a once-over after a period of intense heat or after a lot of rain. Call in a professional if you think there’s a bigger issue going on. Prestige Roofing has over 25 years of experience with all kinds of roofing, keeping Southern Nevada homes cozy, dry and comfortable year round. Give us a call for more information.