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Common Problems with an Asphalt Roof

An Asphalt roofing system is a great choice for a flat roof. However, there are some common issues which asphalt flat roofs are susceptible to.  The good news is asphalt roofs can be repaired in most cases.

Let’s look at some common problems with asphalt roofs.

In the UK, the most common cause of an asphalt roof failing is due to wear and tear from the exposure a wide range of weather conditions.

Sun Damage to Mastic Asphalt

Asphalt is particularly vulnerable to the sun and the heating effect it has. Prolonged exposure to the sun leads to the bitumen being pulled out of the asphalt. This is why you see asphalt roofs change colour to a worn grey over time.

The exposure to the sun can cause the asphalt to slump. Or start to develop cracks as it goes through the cycle of expanding in the heat and contracting in colder conditions.

The best way to prevent sun exposure problems for an asphalt roof is to finish any asphalt roofing with a solar reflective paint. This paint is a light grey colour and vastly reduces the effect the sun has on the asphalt. Effectively it is like sun cream for the roof.

For the maximum longevity for the roof it is best to renew the paint every 3 to 5 years depending on the sun exposure it has to endure.

When this paint is applied, it is important to make sure the whole of the asphalt roof is covered even the parts of the roof which are covered by lead flashing. Lead is conductive of heat and will cause the problem of slumping. For best results its recommended to also cover any lead flashing in solar protective paint too.

It is important to note this solar reflective paint does not 100% protect an asphalt roof from sun exposure. But it vastly reduces the impact the sun has on the asphalt and maximises the life time of the roof.

As we mentioned earlier cracks and wrinkles tend to occur after the roof has expanded then contracted.

Reasons Moisture Can Get Trapped in an Asphalt Roof

1. When an asphalt roof gets damaged, a hairline crack can appear and quickly open up causing water ingress. This can also lead the asphalt to ‘blow’, the heat in the building will force the trapped moisture upwards.

2. When mastic asphalt is being applied to a roof, the buckets which transports the molten liquid contains a certain amount of cement dust that stops the ‘sticking’ of the asphalt to the bottom side of the bucket. However, if a pocket of dust which comes out with the asphalt is not broken up properly. This will in the time cause the asphalt to ‘blow’.

3. An asphalt overlay if not vented will most definitely ‘blow’ any trapped moisture between the coats will be forced upwards. In many cases, the blown asphalt can turn into bumps.

Common Problems you can Spot with Asphalt Roofs

There may be just one bump or many.  If an asphalt roof is suffering from bumps it is very easy to identify as they immediately stand out unnatural in relation to the rest of the roof. The reason for these occurring is down to trapped moisture beneath the asphalt.

Blisters in the Mastic Asphalt

Blisters are very similar to bumps but the top of the bump is either split or cracked open. Again, this is a very easy defect to identify. Just like bumps this defect is caused by moisture trapped beneath the surface. Blisters are a later stage defect than bumps. The danger of blisters is the crack or split can allow more water to penetrate the roofing system and further compromise the roofs integrity.

Splits and Cracks in the Asphalt

As mentioned above water seeping into a crack or split is very detrimental to the health of the roof. When a crack or split occurs the roof needs urgent specialist attention. This is a problem which will only deteriorate over time. Again, this is a problem caused by trapped moisture.

Do you have a Problem with your Asphalt Roof?

If your asphalt has failed and is showing any of the problems mentioned above, or you just want to protect your roof with UV Solar Protective paint get in touch with us today or call us on 01277 375 511 and maximise the longevity of your roof.

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A Look at some Asphalt Roof Problems