UV Damage to Homes: How to Save Money & Preserve Your House
When you live in a high-altitude area, you have to be aware of the unique homeowner responsibilities that come along with it. One such danger is the increased amount of UV rays that can damage the interior and exterior of a mountain home. In this blog post, we'll discuss what UV rays are, how they can damage your home, and some tips on protecting your most valuable asset. Keep reading to become an expert on protecting your home from UV rays.
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What Are UV Rays?
Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a type of electromagnetic radiation that originates from the sun but can also be found from artificial sources like tanning beds and UV lights. UV rays aren't inherently bad, but it's essential to know how much exposure to ultraviolet your house is getting. UV radiation is more intense in the mountains because the sun's rays have to travel through less of the Earth's atmosphere, which generally filters out a lot of harmful radiation. A high altitude can mean more exposure to UV rays, which can ultimately damage the interior and exterior of your house.
UV rays are categorized based on how much energy they emit. The highest-energy UV rays can cause severe damage to anything that experiences too much exposure to UV radiation, including buildings.
Why Do UV Rays Damage Homes?
The harmful effects of sun exposure on our skin and our risk of skin cancer have been well researched. However, UV radiation can harm all sorts of materials over long periods of time. What's worse is that UV rays are not visible light. This means you may overlook the threat until it's too late.
UV rays are, indeed, very powerful, but they don't work alone to damage the inside and outside of houses. Many materials contain elements that make them highly susceptible to damage from UV wavelengths. Knowing where these materials are most commonly found can help you take proactive measures.
How Does Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation Affect Your Home Exterior?
UV rays can impact several different parts of your home's exterior. Here are the signs and what to do to prevent damage.
The effects of sun exposure can damage your roof in many ways. Over time UV damage can cause leaks, discoloration of the roofing material, and substrate degradation. Even small amounts of exposure can cause significant harm to your roof. Here are a few of the most common types of UV-related roof damage.
- Deterioration. Most roofs comprise many chemicals, each of which can be broken down by prolonged cumulative exposure.
- Blistering. Blisters occur when moisture or air accumulate beneath the roofing layers or within the shingles themselves and can cause roof leaks over time.
- Damaged Sealants. These specialized coatings provide added protection against weather and can quickly fail when damaged by the sun.
- Thermal Damage. Thermal damage occurs when roofing materials are heated up by UV rays and then contract too quickly, causing damage. Mountain homes are vulnerable to thermal damage.
Don't worry; there are many ways to protect your roof from the harmful effects of UV rays.
Metal roofs are one of the most popular roofing styles for their durability and energy efficiency. Metal roofs are great because they reflect most of the UV rays that hit them, unlike asphalt shingles that absorb the radiation. This reflection keeps your house cooler in the summer, too. Research shows that metal roofs can reduce your utility bills by up to 40% every year by reflecting heat-producing UV waves. Placing a rubber membrane beneath your metal roof increases insulation and bolsters UV protection.
Whether or not you choose a metal roof, you should get a roof inspection every year. During an inspection, the inspector will check for damage caused by deterioration or blistering. If they find any, you can choose to seal them up on the spot or have a more permanent solution made. Staying on top of roof inspections can save homeowners thousands of dollars in the long run.
Paint exposed to all types of UV radiation will fade or denature in a way that makes it appear chunky or dusty. The eastern and western sides of any home are most vulnerable to fading, depending on the time of day. In prolonged direct sunlight, reds, blues, and yellows, in particular, are highly vulnerable to fading. Considering how important curb appeal is to buyers, faded paint can lower the resale value of your house.
What's the solution? Select paints that are proven to resist UV exposure. Think of paint as sunscreen for your house. You wouldn't hit the ski slopes without lathering up first, right? The best paints will seal your house from water damage and reflect UV radiation, keeping your true colors intact and protecting the integrity of the wood. Latex-based paints are the best option for painting outdoor elements. Latex-based paints have acrylic binders that help them stretch so they won't crack when exposed to the sun. Research professional painters to determine their experience with UV-resistant products.
Decks & Furniture
Over time, different types of wood will darken or bleach in color. The sun also dries out wooden surfaces, causing them to crack and warp when exposed to UV. There's nothing worse than getting your deck ready for the first spring barbecue only to find out it's been damaged by UV rays all winter long.
Paint is perhaps the best UV protector for treated lumber, but it's not a long-term fix. You'll need to add a protective sealant on top to get the best results. You can even take things a step further by building an awning or pergola over your deck to shield it from the sun. Working with a deck specialist in your area can set you up for success when it comes to UV protection.
UV rays can also damage furniture. Be sure to invest in furniture covers or place your favorite items inside when they're not in use.
How Do UV Rays Damage the Home's Interior?
Just like the exterior of your home, the interior can also be subject to damage from UV rays. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the impact.
Rugs, Furniture, and Fabrics
Too much sunlight can wreak havoc on rugs, curtains, and fabric-covered furniture. The effects of sun exposure are most noticeable with dark colors. Some experts recommend opting for lighter-colored fixtures since the fading won't be as noticeable. Additionally, synthetic blends hold up to UV rays better than cotton.
With all that said, it's important to note that sometimes it's not realistic for a homeowner to replace every dark-colored piece of fabric in their home. That's where UV-repelling sprays come into play. These sprays can be found online or at local shops and provide an easy solution for in-home UV protection.
Hardwood floors have a handsome, timeless look that's hard to beat. Furthermore, they're one of the best high-ROI home improvements you can find. Unfortunately, they're also one of the more expensive inclusions to any home, and UV rays easily damage them. Some research estimates that 40 to 60 percent of floor damage occurs due to UV exposure. Consider treating flooring with pigment-based stains and finishes that include UV protectants in their composition if you're concerned about fading. Are you thinking about installing hardwood floors for the first time? Look into home flooring options that are less chemically vulnerable to UV damage.
Additionally, you could simply choose lighter colors over dark ones. Unfortunately, most home insurance providers don't cover damages related to UV exposure. To protect the value of your hardwood floors, it often pays off to recruit professional assistance for full UV protection of your flooring.
Artwork & Photos
Artwork and photographs make your house a home. However, if you're not careful about protecting them from UV exposure, they'll quickly become faded. Unlike floors and fabric, photos aren't as easily replaced. The first step is to avoid placing your prized art and pictures in sunny areas. Then you can frame the works with museum-quality glass designed for conservation. Another option is to coat these items in UV-resistant clear coating, commonly sold at art supply and home improvement stores for just this purpose.
Window film is another excellent option for keeping UV rays out of your house. Window films are basically stickers that can be applied to your window. They can include special features like glare prevention and heat reduction. The best part? They keep 99.9% of UV rays out of your house and away from your artwork and photos. Smart windows are another option that keeps UV rays out and helps you decrease heating/cooling fees by 30%. Homeowners who want to get the best tinted windows or smart window systems for UV protection should consult a local professional about window replacement.
Get Inside-Out Home Protection From UV Rays
From the roof to the inside of your home, UV rays can cause severe damage. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take right now to protect your property from these harmful sun rays. Make sure that you choose paint that's UV-resistant for an extended period. Installing a metal roof and getting annual roof inspections can pay off when it comes to avoiding damage. You should also consider installing window film or tinting to keep UV rays out of your living space altogether. With these tips, you can work against UV rays and maximize the value of your home.