Worried about winter roof problems? Here are the most dangerous roof issues that pop up during the coldest days of the year, and why you need to deal with them.
Ice dams are one of the most common roofing concerns in areas that get snow or ice. However, many homeowners don't know much about these dams or why they are dangerous. An ice dam forms when snow on your roof melts (usually next to warm inside spaces) and runs to the edge of the roof before freezing again.
This forms icicles and causes problems with moisture. As more runoff trickles down to meet frozen ice, the water starts to back up into the shingles and flashing. The water freezes again and creates moisture damage, cracks, and other problems. The icicles can also weigh down and eventually collapse your gutters - which is not good! More attic insulation can help here, but you may also want to consider protective flashing on the edges of your roof to prevent moisture damage.
Sometimes the worse winter damage actually happens inside your house. During winter, heated air inside the home will rise to the attic. Without proper ventilation, the heated air will linger there. The moisture in that air can condense and make your attic walls "sweat." This moisture can linger for a long time and cause problems including mold and rot. Even in the coldest parts of winter, your attic needs enough open vents to allow air to pass outside.
How do you know if your attic is at risk? Have someone climb up and take a look. Make sure that your vents are open and unblocked. When the days get colder, take a trip or two up to watch for condensation problems. If you notice any problems like mildew or wetness, call a professional roofing contractor. You may need to add more vents or change how they work.
Too much snow can cause roof weight problems, especially in homes that are unprepared for snowy climates. The good news is that there are plenty of signs your roof is in danger of collapsing from the weight of snow.
First, pay attention to your gutters, which act as helpful indicators of roof weight. Gutters dealing with thick ice and snow will be the first thing to bend and buckle. This is a hint at even more serious problems. Second, look at your doors and windows. If you are having trouble opening or closing them - or if they seem to be warped and uneven - you may have structural winter roof problems that are buckling your house frame. Bulging ceilings and sudden, bad leaks are other signs that your roof is starting to give way. In this instance, immediate action is necessary.