Days that reach sub-freezing temperatures can do the most damage to your roof, some of which may not be apparent right away. Here are several common roofing issues that you should be aware of before the winter months.
Icicles can create significant stress on a roof including, for example asphalt shingles to loosen or dislodge, gutters to sag or break, and damage to the chimney and vents. A useful chore is to grab a broom or shovel and break up the icicles before they can get too large and compromise the integrity of the roof. If there is an icicle that continues to get bigger it can be a danger to people as well, grab a ladder and slowly dislodge it by hand. You don’t want to be standing under it.
These ice forms can destroy the gutter system and can even cause enough damage to require a roof replacement. As with other winter preparation, it’s best to have a roof inspection, gutter maintenance, and roof repair performed before the winter season to check for anything that may be loose.
2. Wind Damage
Winter winds can cause significant damage and many Dallas and Fort Worth roofs suffer from strong winds during violent storms. If you have trees, and especially large trees with branches overhanging the roof, be prepared to keep the roofing material cleared of debris.
Strong winds can result in missing asphalt shingles on your roof, large debris (for example tree limbs) falling on your roof, leaks, peeling, chimney problems, and more. High wind speeds can cause damage to your roof by lifting the roofing material and breaking the seals creating water leaks and leaky flashing.
It’s best to have a roof inspection done by a roof repair service before winter so they can identify and replace any weakened shingles. But, you can also start by climbing up on your roof and removing any debris that you see. A strong enough wind can get a tree branch caught under shingles and either loosen or dislodge them. Next, walk your property and keep an eye out for any potential threats, such as dead tree branches, and remove them or have them removed before they can become a problem.
3. Roof Leaks
No list of common roof problems would be complete without listing leaks. Homeowners should stay up-to-date with the age and condition of their roof. This includes not letting debris remain on the roof, including fall leaves and tree limbs that may come down in winter storms. Also, not just shingles should be considered, but other roofing materials as well such as the flashing. The flashing is the aluminum formed sheeting that connects other roofing elements, for example in the roof valleys, and remember flashing can wear out more quickly than roofing shingles, and the caulking sealant even faster than that.
If you notice a roof leak, climb up onto the roof and cover up the leaking area as quickly as possible. Since you have a sloped roof you can do this by tacking down a tarp that is stretched up and over the roof crest. But, always be extremely careful when on a wet or icy roof. Contact an emergency roof repair service, then go inside your home/attic to stop the water from spreading. You might not realize that you have a roof leak until you notice significant water damage forming and it’s important to act as soon as you see the signs to prevent mold growth.
One side note: make sure to contact your insurance company right away. They may cover the costs.
4. Ice Dams
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, winter weather does not create heavy snow and snow load isn’t a problem. When there is snow it’s typically not more than an inch or so per year. But, an inch of snow is enough to create ice dams and do some damage to your roof and gutter system. Vents must be kept clear since lack of proper ventilation can create additional problems.
Whenever you run your heater in the winter, the hot air will rise (as it always does) to the top of your home. Eventually, that will lead to your roof, creating warmer sections and besides melting snow and ice can lead to the formation of condensation inside your attic. With warm air and sun, melted snow will then make its way down to the edge of your roof and refreeze, causing what’s known as an “ice dam”. Cold sunny days following a storm create ideal conditions for this. As ice dams build they backup water behind them and water can be pulled up and over the underside of the shingles by capillary action. The best way to prevent this is by venting your attic (more so than it is already) or sweep off the snow before it can start the ice damming process.
5. Attic Condensation
Without proper attic ventilation, warm moist air will condense on any cold surface and form water droplets. Over time this can become one of the most serous and least apparent of winter roofing issues. Lack of proper insulation and condensation over time can compromise the structure. Having the right number of vents, that are the right size and in the right places is critically important. If you have a condensation problem in your attic, make sure the bathroom fans are vented to the outside and if necessary, add additional vents.
The only way to prevent a roof problem is with routine maintenance from a trained and licensed professional.
Prevent These Problems Before They Start
Be sure to visit our vlog to watch our how-to videos to learn more about taking care of your roof.
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