With summer temperatures worldwide ratcheting up into the upper 90’s and lower 100s, our homes are impacted by the sweltering sun. In some cases, this can result in heat damage to the property.
There are several ways that a home can be affected by the heat of the sun. As a homeowner, it is beneficial to be aware of how your insurance can help you in the event of heat damage, as well as how you can prevent or mitigate any losses that you experience.
Types Of Heat Damage
Heat damage from the sun can occur almost anywhere in the world. Similarly, it can affect both the interior as well as the exterior of a home. Some of the main damages that can be caused by extreme heat and prolonged sun exposure are explained down below.
When the sun gets ahold of outdoor materials including paint and wooden structures, peeling and cracking are among the most common reactions. This happens as a result of the heat pulling materials apart and creating openings, creating the need for repairs and possible replacements.
Similar to cracking damage caused by the sun’s UV rays, components of a home can become expanded from the heat, resulting in noticeable bubbles on the surface. On the other hand, the siding and paint on a house have the potential to actually melt off if the heat is intense enough.
Many homeowners would be surprised to learn that heat and mold damage go hand in hand. This is because extreme levels of direct sunlight can also come with moisture, depending on the materials. For instance, if you have metal roofing tiles, the steam that is created could result in condensation that becomes wet over time. When given time to build up, mold and mildew can grow underneath the tiles, undetected.
Color fading is another one of the most common effects of sun damage to a home. This can apply to anything from the exterior paint of the home to roofing tiles, wood, and even lawn chairs. The sun has the potential to wear down the appearance of anything that remains in its path for too long without protection.
Where To Look For Heat Damage
When looking for heat damage from the sun throughout your property, there are a few places to keep in mind that are most commonly affected. While it is true that the sun can damage almost any area of your home, there are a few places to look first to gain control of the issue.
Here are the most common places where heat damage takes place:
One of the first, and most noticeable, locations where you should look for sun damage are the exterior walls of your home. More specifically, heat from the sun targets the paint that covers the walls of your property. Cracks and chips in the paint can open up as a result of expansion from direct sunlight.
Secondly, you should always check on your roofing materials. The sun tends to have the biggest effect on roof shingles since they are made of asphalt and can accumulate cracks and heat bubbles over time. However, you can still experience roof damage from the sun regardless of the material. This can include anything from cracks to a presence of moisture that can appear after long-term exposure to sunlight.
Any kind of wood structure on the property, from decks to porches and sheds, can experience extreme damage when subjected to direct sunlight for too long. The heat will break down the wooden materials, causing peeling, cracks, fading, and discoloration, among other cosmetic issues.
The siding of a home can experience color fading as a result of sun damage. This area, in particular, will require close attention, as siding has a heightened risk of mold and mildew growth when extreme heat is involved.
If any kind of upholstered furniture is present, on the exterior of the home especially, colored fabrics can start to fade significantly when placed in an area that is subjected to direct sunlight.
Does Home Insurance Cover Heat Damage?
The first thing that many homeowners ask following the discussion of home damage is whether or not their insurance policy will cover the necessary repairs. All insurance policies will differ between individuals, so it is always a good idea to know what your coverages are before you find yourself in a situation where you have experienced any kind of loss or damage.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that home insurance serves the purpose of covering damages and losses that are completely accidental. Speaking in insurance terms, these events are known as “perils” and refer to things that happen to the property beyond the control of the homeowner.
For instance, if your home was hit by a natural disaster such as a hurricane, you would not be held responsible to pay for the damages on your own since the event was out of your control. The same concept applies to accidental house fires and water pipes that burst suddenly with no previous warning. Under most home insurance companies, you can rest assured that you will not have to come out of pocket for these unavoidable perils.
What most home insurance policies do not cover, however, are gradual damages that happen slowly over time. When owning a house, certain responsibilities fall into the hands of the homeowner in terms of maintenance. In other words, homeowners are expected to handle the upkeep of the interior and exterior of the property, to avoid preventable damages.
If small issues are paid attention to and caught right away, many common problems can usually be stopped at the source – including sun damage.
Sun damage is something that happens slowly and becomes more severe as time goes on. If a homeowner is attentive to beginning signs of wear and tear from the sun, they will be able to quickly fix the problem before it results in expensive repairs and possible replacements.
Any mold, mildew, or fungus that grows as a result of moisture from sun damage will usually not be covered by the average home insurance policy either. There are some exceptions to this rule in other cases when the growth comes from a peril that is covered by the policy. In the case of sun damage, however, mold and similar issues would not be reimbursed.
What Happens After Heat Damage Is Discovered
If any area of your home becomes damaged by the sun, several expenses might be required. The overall cost of any repairs or replacements would be determined by the severity of the damages. However, listed down below are some of the repairs you can expect to come your way as a result of prolonged sun damage.
Potential Expenses After Heat Damage:
- Repainting the exterior/interior walls
- Replacement of roof tiles and interior flooring
- Replacement of furniture/decorations
- Mold and mildew restoration
- Rebuilding/restoring structures
Depending on which area of your property has been affected by the sunlight, you could be dealing with anything from a new paint job to extensive restorations, replacements, and remodeling projects. Heat damage that is caught early could be fixed more easily and for less of a cost, while prolonged gradual damage can break the bank.
Along with the potential costs that can pile up after heat damage takes place, the value of a home can decrease significantly. If the property is not kept up cosmetically, or a repair job is not cohesive with the previous design of the home, the property value can go down when it comes time to sell. This includes chipping or fading on the exterior and mismatched siding or paint colors.
How To Prevent Heat Damage To Your Home
Since heat damage is not typically covered with most home insurance policies, it is your responsibility as a homeowner to ensure that your property is not affected. If you allow your home damage to get too severe, you will be left with the bill for any potential repairs that you might need as a result of negligence.
Here are some tips for preventing heat damage to your home before it starts:
Start With The Paint
Preventative measures against damage from the sun should begin on the outermost later of the home. For the exterior walls, durable paints of good quality should be applied. That way, they will be able to withstand the cracking that usually comes from heat exposure.
It is recommended to find paint or coating with weatherproofing technology. These types of paints will be more resistant to sun damage, along with water and other natural elements. While top quality paints will require a larger upfront investment, they will save you money in the long run when you don’t have to repair against heat damage.
Seal Wood Structures
Any wooden structures in the front or back yard should be coated with a special sealing in order to prevent sun damage. When UV rays get ahold of wood materials, they can begin to split, crack, and fade. With a protective material over the top, porches, decks, and sheds that are constantly exposed to the sun will be less susceptible to these risks.
Protect The Interior
The interior of a home is never excluded from sun damage. Even though the walls block out most of the heat, the sunlight can still shine through the windows, reaching furniture and personal items.
Protective window films can be installed to prevent interior sun damage. The seal will prevent UV rays from entering, reducing the glare and heat that comes from the sun, and protecting against color fading.
Treat Wood Floors
The wood or plank flooring on the interior of your home is just as susceptible to damage as the porch in your backyard. That being said, it is recommended to apply some kind of stain or finishing treatment to your flooring to prevent fading from the sunlight that enters through the windows.
Cover Wall Decor
Similar to the flooring, you should make an effort to protect any decorations on your walls, including paintings and photographs. These items can be shielded from color fading through framing with a special glass that will combat UV rays. Artwork can be sprayed with a sealer for an added layer of protection.
Choose Furniture Wisely
When furnishing your home, colors and materials should be chosen wisely. For upholstered lounge chairs and couches that will be exposed to the sun, light colors will look the best over time. Dark colors, on the other hand, will fade more noticeably.
If you are not furnishing a new home and have existing pieces of different colors, you can attempt to seal them with a protective UV spray, or just replace them altogether.
How To Protect Your Home Against Sun Damage
As you can see, heat damage from the sun is highly predictable during the summer months, but not very avoidable at the same time. As someone who owns a home, it can be scary and frustrating to learn that your insurance company most likely will not have your back in the event that your property is affected.
Instead, you will need to take matters into your own hands in order to ensure that you do not have to pay for heat damages later. This can only be done by paying very close attention to both the interior and exterior of your home, doing your due diligence to prevent it from occurring and progressing.
Realizing that sun damage is not recognized by home insurance can be a let-down, but you won’t have to worry about it if you take care of your responsibilities as a homeowner.
The precautionary measures detailed above will only require a small amount of effort and will come with a large reward in the future when you don’t have to pay for the heat damages you were able to prevent before they started.
Is your home damaged from the heat thanks to increasing temperatures in your area? If you need to file a claim for heat damage, but have no idea where to start, reach out to a public adjuster like the excellent ones that are part of the Bulldog Adjusters’ team! With over a decade of experience in the public adjusting field, we know what it takes to get you the best possible settlement for your heat damage claim.