There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding what factors contribute most to the deterioration of an asphalt shingle roof. A lot of people find themselves rightfully concerned about factors such as animals on their roof, erosion damage from water and high winds. But the number one factor that contributes to shortening the life of your roof? Thermal shock.


    If you’re anything like me the first time I heard this information, you may be scratching your head but that’s okay! It’s actually quite simple and makes a lot of sense.


    Think of it this way. Imagine you have a mug full of steaming hot water and you drop an ice cube into it. What happens to the ice cube? It will almost instantly snap, crackle and pop! Or imagine heating up a wine glass until it is very hot and then pouring ice cold water on it. If the temperature difference is extreme enough, the glass will shatter in fractions of a second. It is not the temperature itself of either material that is responsible for this phenomena but rather the change of temperature. This is thermal shock at work.


    Thermal shock happens when you take a material that has poor conductive qualities (like ice, glass, ceramic etc) and subject it to extreme temperature changes. Because ice and glass are both a) brittle and b) poor thermal conductors (meaning they do not diffuse heat as well as a good conductor like metal), the molecular structure expands (in increased temperatures) or contracts (in decreased temperatures). If the material is a bad conductor it will do so in an uneven fashion, pushing the material into shapes it cannot withstand without significant stress.


    So what can you do to reduce the effects of thermal shock on your roof? Well, the good news is that unlike animals, water erosion and high winds there actually are actionable steps that you can take to reduce thermal shock, the number one answer being: proper ventilation. Ventilation is unarguably the most overlooked aspect of the roofing process by both contractors and homeowners alike and getting a contractor that is knowledgeable about it’s effects will literally end up saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars by giving you the scientifically proper amount of ventilation instead of guesswork and thereby extending the life of your roof.
    As always, if you would like an estimate, an inspection or just have some questions about roofing, thermal shock or ventilation, give us a call at 905-746-5792 or send us an e-mail at

Published On: March 5th, 2016 / Categories: News / Tags: , , , , , /

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