Common Winter Roof Damage Problems to Avoid

By fiderioandsons Feb 8, 2016

Winter Roof Damage ProblemsWinter weather can be unforgiving to weakened roofs, and it’s never in a homeowner’s best interest to wait for spring to address the issues that the presence of snow and ice on your roof can cause. In this post we discuss several of the main winter roof damage problems that CT home owners should be aware of, along with some brief advice on how to best manage these problems.

Ice Dams

Ice dams form when melting snow from a roof runs off and refrreezes at the edge of the roof. Typically, ice dams are caused by a warm roof, which creates the opportunity for melted snow to refreeze when it passes the exterior wall and runs into the cold unheated roof edge or gutter.  If left untreated, ice can work its way back up the roof edge, getting under shingles, eventually melting and leaking into the exterior wall. In some cases, mold can begin to grow in a home’s attic, if there is the right temperature and level of humidity– paint will peel or blister weeks or months after the melting, signaling the problem. There are three solutions that homeowners can use to remediate ice dam problems: eliminating sources of heat in the attic, keeping guttesr clean & free of debris, and removing snow from the roof. Ideally, homeowners should contact a contractor to ensure their roof’s safety.

Formation of Icicles

Icicles on the edge of your roof are created from the same types of conditions that create ice damming issues. Sure, they may appear to be harmless (unless they fall on your head), but they can actively damage your roof’s shingles and gutters. To prevent icicle formation, eliminate roof-top air leaks and provide better attic insulation. Determined homeowners can remove icicles with a long roof rake, as we wouldn’t suggest climbing on the roof when it’s covered in a sheet of ice.

Heavy Snow On the Roof

Roofs are designed to handle different amounts of weight, so if too much snow accumulates on top of your house, homeowners can run the risk of their roof collapsing. Residential roofing styles vary by location for practical reasons. Most homes in Connecticut and other areas that are affected by snow have pitched (sloped) roofs to decrease the amount of snow buildup, but it is nearly impossible to prevent snow from accumulating during a storm of this magnitude.Wet snow is very heavy, but even large drifts of light snow can prove problematic. There are many cases when poor roof drainage can worsen the situation, leading to an over-exerted roof that can begin to leak, crack, and cause ceilng sagging. Obviously, this is a serious problem, so homeowners should not put off calling in the professionals when they recognize a problem.

Gutters Pulling Away From Roof Edge

After the storm has left the area, take a few minutes to walk around the perimeter of your home. Look at the edge of the roof, where it connects to the gutters and makes sure that the gutters are not beginning to pull away from your home. The weight of snow may bend or move the gutters on your home, which obstructs the flow of run-off water from the roof. To avoid issues in the future, try to keep the gutters clear from debris during a big storm.

Seeking Help From Insurance Company

Insurers generally cover storm-related roof repairs, but many insurers will reject claims for water damage unless you can prove regular roof maintenance.  Check our post on filing an insurance claim for more information. The cost of a new roof is higher than roof repair so insurers expect you to hire professionals to conduct regular roof inspections. For future reference, see our roof inspection checklist infographic. Call us for a roof repair cost estimate or a free consultation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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