As a responsible homeowner, you know to keep your roof clear of debris, keep your trees trimmed back so limbs won't land on the roof during storms, and have roof inspections done after a hailstorm. But storms and falling debris aren't the only things that can damage your roof.

In fact, some sneaky types of damage don't even leave any obvious signs, so you may not notice the problem until you specifically start looking for it (or until your next professional roof inspection). Here are four ways your roof can accrue "silent" roof damage that's trying to slip past your radar.

1. UV Damage

UV rays from the sun don't just damage your skin; they can also damage pretty much anything that's exposed to them on a regular basis. And the more sunlight the surface absorbs (as opposed to reflecting it off), the more damage UV rays can do. Asphalt surfaces, such as roofing and driveways, can absorb a lot of UV rays, partly because they're typically black or at least dark in color and partly because the material itself has a high capacity for retaining the heat from the sun.

When these asphalt surfaces are exposed to UV rays over time, they can become more brittle and susceptible to other types of damage, both impact damage and weather damage.

2. Thermal Shock

Thermal shock is a term that describes what happens when shingles don't just heat up during the day, but then cool down rapidly at night. So it's especially likely to cause problems for you if you live in an area that not only sees hot summer sun but also has cool summer nights. If you live on the coast, for example, or in the Pacific Northwest, you could be especially likely to see this type of problem.

What happens is that the shingles have to stretch slightly every time they heat up a lot (due to expansion), and then stretch in the other direction when they cool off a lot (due to shrinkage). The more extreme the temperature differences are, the harder it is for the asphalt material to keep up with the temperature changes, especially once the shingles have a few years behind them and have suffered enough UV damage that they're less pliable and flexible than they once were.

3. Damage From Walking on the Roof

If you walk on your roof regularly to inspect it (or for any other reason) rather than taking the safer route of inspecting it from the ground, you could actually be causing small amounts of damage by doing so. Walking on the roof can dislodge the small reflective particles that protect the asphalt shingles, and if you walk on the roof when it's extremely hot or extremely cold, you can actually damage the shingles themselves (sometimes in obvious ways but other times more subtly).

4. Damage from inadequate ventilation

Low ventilation may not seem like an urgent issue, but it can actually destroy a roof over the course of just a few years. The differences in temperature between the attic and the outdoor air can cause a lot of condensation to form, and when it forms on the inside of the roof regularly, this can cause the roof to rot out.

A more easily detectable way that this can damage your roof is that the superheated attic can actually make your roof even hotter, increasing heat stress and thermal damage so that the shingles start to deform.

As you can see, many types of roof damage are caused by things you might not expect and can hide from detection by causing less-than-obvious damage. Caring for your roof by ensuring adequate ventilation, staying off the roof and providing shade for reducing UV exposure can help, but it's still important to get professional inspections on a regular basis. Call Robert Smith Siding & Remodeling today or visit our website to learn more about our services.