Ask the Expert: What Are the Effects of Excessive Heat on Homes?

David Deem

Today's Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president and CEO of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: According to the Washington Post, this past July of 2019 was the hottest July ever on Earth! We know we must protect ourselves, our loved ones and our pets from staggering heat, but what is it doing to our homes? What are some of the places in or on the exterior of our homes that could experience heat damage?

A: The first item you are likely to notice with your naked eye is exterior paint damage. Bubbling, chipping, flaking paint is quite common to see after extreme heat and sun beat down on the home all summer. These can cause openings and cracks that then lead to moisture and mold damage. Ask for a mold inspection if you suspect this is happening to your home to make sure you halt the mold and reverse it where it is.

Is there anything to be done to prevent this in the future?
There are new products under development constantly to combat weather conditions. If you find you must repaint your exterior, be sure to contact the best possible and experienced painting company that specializes in exteriors. The product you should ask for should contain elastomeric coatings (weatherproofing tech).

What else should we look for?
If you have a deck or any wooden structure on your property, it's likely it also has taken a beating from the heat. Sunlight dries the wood, discolors it and makes any coating crack and peel. Again, there are new stain and protective coating products being improved constantly. Be sure to find an expert to either strip the current layer and reapply, or get expert instructions from a product provider on how to do it yourself.

What's next?
The roof takes a beating and there is a real risk to asphalt shingles. Direct sun, especially this unusually hot sun, will cause blistering and cracking on any roof material. Metal roofing can encounter problems if moisture gets under it, as is the case with any material. Overheating and moisture are the key dangers here.

And finally?
If you have a home with siding, it can also experience considerable damage in this heat. We know sun can make the color fade, but it also wears the products down and, once again, one of the dangers of that is moisture getting underneath and eating away at the materials. Moisture is the main enemy here because it can lead to harmful mold. The best thing to do once fall comes around is to have all these points inspected and repairs done immediately—that includes cracks and punctures. These can lead to costly damage down the road. And we always recommend a mold inspection after a hot summer like this. Mold can make the house "sick" and an early detection is your best bet to fix the problem quickly.



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