While the wintertime can bring some beautiful snowy weather, it can also bring some unexpected damage to your home. In fact, snow and ice can wreak absolute havoc on your residential roof. Understanding what damage can occur and how to prevent it from happening in the first place can help to save you time and money this winter season.
Snowpack can be extremely heavy. Most new shingles are rated to handle about four feet of snowpack. However, worn shingles can have a much lower handling rate. Over time, you’ll notice that your roofline will start to sag. It’s best to understand the average snowfall in your area and properly have your roof prepped to handle it. Also, having a snow brush to remove excess snowpack from your roof can go a long way in reducing its potential damage to your roofline.
Over time, it’s not uncommon for your roof to develop small leaks. During the colder winter months, water can seep into these leaks. Apart from the water damage it can create inside of your home, this water can freeze when temperatures get down too low. When this happens, the water will expand.
Any water present inside of the hole will cause the hole to expand. This can lead to even more water damage once it unthaws again. Yearly roof inspections will help to identify these holes when they are small so that a repair can be performed before costlier problems develop.
Icicles and Ice Dams
While icicles can be beautiful to look at, they can be extremely dangerous when you’re walking under them. If you notice that there are icicles hanging from your roof or gutters, it’s an indication that your current water diversion system isn’t working effectively.
Commonly known as ice damming, this process is a result of stuck water on your roof freezing and thawing. When water is unable to drain properly through your gutter system, it will back up onto your roof. This can lead to a plethora of structural issues and health hazards for those walking around your home. As soon as you notice icicles developing on your gutters, it’s time to call a professional roofing company to handle the issue.
One of the best ways to help prevent ice damming from happening is to simply clean your gutters and downspouts in the late fall. This will remove excess debris that can clog up your gutter system and prevent water flow. Additionally, having a snow brush on hand will allow you to easily remove excess snowpack that would otherwise sit and melt on your roof. This regular maintenance will go a long way in preventing roof damage to your home.
One beautiful addition to any home is a skylight or two that can allow natural light to seep into your home. Unfortunately, skylights do pose a wintertime risk when snowmelt gets excessive. The water created by the snowmelt can start to back up underneath the skylight’s flashing.
This will not only create leaks inside of your home, but the excess condensation can actually cause the glass in your skylight to crack unexpectedly. Having an annual roof inspection will help to alert you of any failures in your skylight’s flashing. Additionally, clearing snowpack from your roof consistently will help to minimize the amount of snowmelt that your skylight experiences.
Best Ways to Prevent Roof Damage in Winter
Roof damage can be quite costly. Fortunately, there are numerous steps that you can take to avoid it. First and foremost, always get a roof inspection in the fall. This will easily allow you to identify and remedy any problems before the wintertime snowflakes hits. Consider having your gutters and downspouts cleaned during your inspection to ensure that they’re completely clear of debris and ready to remove excess water from your roof.
If you live in an area of the country that receives a lot of snow during the wintertime, consider getting a snow brush. This will allow you to easily remove excess snow from your roof before it can lead to excessive damage to your home.
If you can’t utilize a snow brush or simply don’t want to commit to the excess work, consider the installation of heat cables or mats. These get installed in a particular fashion along the bottom of your roof to help heat up snow. This causes it to melt quickly and works to alleviate that added pressure on your roof.