5 Symptoms of Sun Damage on Your Home

No matter where you live, weather takes a serious toll on your home. Rain increases the risk of water damage and erodes your landscape; snow places strain on your house’s roof and walls while potentially freezing your plumbing rock-solid. Wind can send debris like branches (and worse) over your fences and through your windows. However, there is one type of dangerous weather people rarely talk about: Sunny days.

While you might love when the sun comes out, your home can suffer under the excessive heat and light. Here’s what you should know about the damage wrought on your home by the sun, so you can be prepared to hire help when you need it.

Heat Wreaks Havoc on the Roof

Heat causes things to expand, while cool causes things to contract. Thus, as the spring and summer sun beats down on your roof, the tiles will undergo phases of expansion and contraction — and that’s not good.

This movement can loosen parts of your roof, which introduces weakness to a system that should be kept tight. Flashing, for example, prevents water from entering your home through the corners and most vulnerable parts of your roof. Due to expansion and contraction, the flashing can separate from the rest of the roof, allowing water to seep in. The tiles themselves can degrade due to expansion and contraction as well, and this might push away your roof’s drainage system, leading to leaks and water damage. In sunny places like Phoenix, handyman services are often relied upon to repair shifting elements of a hot roof.

UV Rays Erode Wood Finishes

You already know what havoc UV rays wreak on your skin and eyes — it stands to reason that UV rays do similar damage to your home. Over time, the constant radiation changes the molecular structure of your roof, making it less resistant to precipitation and less efficient at insulating temperature and wind. Unfortunately, there is hardly anything to counteract this slow, steady damage save investment in costly metal roof alternatives.

Additionally, UV rays do significant damage to the exposed wood pieces of your home. Both treated and untreated wood is susceptible, and decks, fences, porch floors and even things within your home will degrade over time. You can apply a UV-resistant finish that will protect it for a time, but you will need to reapply the finish every few years.

Sunlight Causes Paint to Fail Early

There is a reason you have to specify “exterior” when choosing paint for the outside parts of your home; exterior paint is heavier and more resistant to the elements. Unfortunately, even the toughest outdoor  paint can’t withstand the punishing sun forever. On the sunny sides of your home, your paint could fail quite early — even annually if you live in a sunny place with high humidity, like southern Florida.

In some areas of the country, you can get away without using pain. Instead, you can protect against moisture, UV rays, wind and pests with a simple sealant, which typically lasts longer than paint. However, exterior paint is required by most climates, and repainting on a regular schedule is typically the only recourse.

High Temps Put Stress on the HVAC

This one should be obvious: When temperatures rise, so does the stress on your HVAC. No matter where you live, you need the A/C in the summertime to lower inside temperatures or control interior humidity. Because HVAC units are typically located outside your home, either on the roof or on the ground nearby, thy take the full brunt of sunlight and high temperatures in the warm season. Like with other parts of your home, the light and heat can degrade more delicate components fast, but more importantly, the heat will make it harder for your HVAC to cool the air to comfortable temperatures. This means higher energy bills throughout the summer.

When you need to replace your A/C, you can relocate the unit to a shadier area of your property to reduce the effects of the sun. Until then, try to use your HVAC as little as possible during the year.

The Stuff You Own Can Get Damaged, Too

The damage from the sun doesn’t stop outside. Because your home has windows, sunlight and heat travels into your home to wreak havoc, too. Worse, the most vulnerable materials are often those we keep closest to the windows, which means they are almost sure to degrade quickly. If you want to avoid replacing things like draperies, furniture, photographs and carpets on a regular basis, you should reconsider placing any of the following near your windows:

  • Fabrics and upholstery
  • Wallpaper
  • Natural wood
  • Photos and paintings

Because you can’t turn off the sun, there is no way to avoid the damage caused by light and heat. However, by being aware of the slow and steady deterioration of certain elements of your home, you can better avoid a catastrophe.

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