Dog days of summer

Belk Builders discusses how heat and humidity can cause damage to your home’s roof:

During my childhood, I can remember my grandparents referring to the hot, balmy period at the end of the summer as “the dog days of summer.” It wasn’t until later on that i realized there was more to the term “dog days of summer” than I imagined. The  phrase  actually dates back to ancient Rome. “Caniculares dies”, or days of the dogs, was what the Romans called the last part of the summer. It is common for the latter part of the summer to be the hottest during the season. This explains where the phrase comes from, but you may ask what is the connection to dogs? The explanation is really rather fascinating, especially if you like astronomy.

According to the Weather Channel, the answer lies in the stars…

Sirius, the Dog Star

Sirius, the Dog Star.

“You might have heard of a constellation named Orion. Often referred to as “The Hunter,” Orion is a prominent constellation visible throughout the world. Nearby is the constellation Canis Major, which is Latin for “greater dog.” According to constellation lore, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs. Located in Canis Major is a star named Sirius, also called the “Dog Star.” With the exception of our sun, Sirius is the brightest star visible from Earth. The brilliant, blue-white star’s name comes from the Greek word for “searing.” Because Sirius is so bright, it was easy to track even for early astronomers. During April and early May, Sirius was visible in the southwest after sunset. But by the time mid-summer would come along, Sirius would rise and fall with the sun and get lost in the daytime light.” 

However, the ancients knew that the “Dog Star” was still there, up in the sky with the sun during the hottest time of the year. They reasoned that since Sirius was so bright and up there with the sun, it must be adding to the heat to produce the hottest time of the year. This explains where the origins of describing the hottest period of the season. The dog days are also a time when damage to your home’s exterior can occur, or worsen, due to the excessive heat and humidity.

Hail damage to roof in South Charlotte sustained during recent storms

Hail damage can actually worsen during times of hot weather!

Most of the time, in the Charlotte area, we focus on the damage that wind, hail or ice storms can do to the roof of a house – but it’s important to remember that baking hot temperatures during dog days of summer can also be destructive. That heat may be great for days at the lake,or pool,  or working on your tan, but sweltering temperatures and humidity can cause real damage to your roofing system.

As a homeowner, your understanding of the problems that can result from excessive heat helps you to protect one of the most important parts of your home…the roof. Here at  Belk Builders we want to offer the following tips on spotting overheat damage to your roof:

  • Roofing plywood damage: Excessive and extended heat will cause your roofing plywood to warp and soften. A look into your attic should provide some tell-tale signs, including crumbling or separation of plywood layers as the glue that holds it together is compromised by the heat.
  • Roof leaks: Roofing paper can lift, shift and crack due to heat beating down on a roof, thus exposing a path for water to enter. When the summer sun beats down on your roof, your shingles and flashing begin to expand. Sudden drops in temperature (such as those we are experiencing now, where it is 95 during the day and drops down to 65 in the evening) mean the shingles and flashing can contract very quickly (called thermal cracking). This in and out process means a higher potential for leaks. Because roof leaks can be attributed to a number of causes, be sure to look for signs of roof paper damage in the middle of the roof, the area that tends to get the hottest when an attic is inadequately ventilated.
  • Buckling shingles will crack and tear if not addressed.

    Buckling shingles will crack and tear if not addressed.

    Cooling costs increase: If you notice a hike in your cooling costs, an overheated roof could be to blame. When your roof and attic become hot enough, that heat travels down into your home’s living space, kicking your air conditioning system into overdrive and killing your cooling budget! Of course, a boost in cooling costs can be attributed to other causes as well but if combined with a leaky roof or plywood damage, an overheated roof is the likely culprit.

How can you defend your roof from the damages of the sun?

  • Quality roof shingles: For example, standard asphalt shingles have a coating of roofing granules, which provide reflection of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Excessive granule loss from thermal cracking causes shingles to lose some of their protection from ultraviolet radiation, so check for loss of this protection frequently.
  • Roof ventilation: Heat builds up in the attic causing temperatures to rise. If your roof and attic do not have the capacity to ventilate against heat buildup, your roof materials will suffer heat damage from the inside, causing your shingles to blister and crack. Ridge vents pay special attention to attic ventilation drawing heat and moisture out of your roofing structure.
Belk Builders can handle all your exterior siding, roofing and window needs!

Belk Builders can handle all your Charlotte exterior siding, roofing and window needs!

Without good quality roofing shingles or adequate roof ventilation, heat damage can drastically shorten the life of your roof, especially an already compromised roof (for example, one already damaged by hail). A damaged roof leaves your family’s health as well as personal belongings exposed to potential harm.

Kent Frerichs Owner Belk Builders

Kent Frerichs, Owner Belk Builders.

What can you do to protect your home’s roof which provides year round shelter and protection for you and your family?

If you think you’ve got heat damage or any other damage to your roof, the single best thing you can do is call Belk Builders for a free roof inspection today. We’ll help you spot any potential problems and assist you in dealing with them before they become a bigger issue. Call us at (704) 400-4710 or contact us at and take the “bite” out of the dog days of summer!

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