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Winter Roof Damage

Winter can be harsh on the roof of a house; we do not recommend waiting for spring before addressing any issues that winter weather conditions cause. 

1. Ice Dam Formation

Warm air rises from heated living spaces, it warms the shingles of your roof and the snow that covers it. Snow will start melting drip down to the colder edges of the roof where it will refreeze as ice. Ice will get thick, it backs up further snowmelt behind it, causing water to seep under the shingles, and eventually into your home through leakage points. Leaks more likely when backed up water freezes and thaws, finding ways into crannies and nooks which expands them. Prevent an ice dam by getting your attic insulated and ensuring it has proper ventilation , cleaning out gutters and downspouts in late fall.

2. Icicle Formation

Icicles often result from the same kinds of conditions that cause ice damming. While they may seem harmless, they can damage shingles and gutters as well as break and fall on those walking below. Eliminating roof-top air leaks and better insulation will reduce icicles as much as ice dams.

3. Attic Condensation Problems

When your roof is suffering from winter build-up, especially ice dams, there is a good chance that, just below the roof, your attic ceiling will have excessive condensation. Moisture build-up is not a minor issue, this can lead to wood-rot and mold. Proper ventilation is the answer. However, in this case, it is crucial to plug any leaks in the insulation on the attic floor where moist air from below might enter. Furthermore, appliances, plumbing, dehumidifiers, and other devices can cause excess moisture build-up if malfunctioning.

4. Heavy Snow load and Rooftop 

Roofs are designed to handle different weight loads depending on the type, if too much ice and snow accumulates on top of your house, the risk of roof collapse is no joke. Wet snow is heavy, but large drifts of even lighter snow can exert significant pressures. Where there is poor roof drainage and/or poor construction can make the situation worse and lead to an over-stressed roof that begins to leak, creak, and cause ceiling sagging. This is a serious situation, do not hesitate to have your roof inspected if you are ever unsure. 

5. Existing problems become worse 

Besides causing new problems, snow load and the freeze/thaw cycle can further loosen already, dislodge shaky shingles, unsecured roof flashing and pry open gutter seams where caulk has broken off.

These conditions can affect every homeowner's roof during the winter. Taking time to care for your roof just before, during, and immediately following the harsh treatment it receives in the cold season will protect your investment in your home and avoiding costly leaks.