A lot of homeowners mistakenly believe that once the summer storms have departed that they really do not need to worry about winter roof damage. The fact is that winter can be a treacherous time for your roof.
Winter roof damage can result in a call for emergency roof repair. It can happen seemingly suddenly. Understanding the potential threat to your roof that can result in winter roof damage will help to keep you alert to the threats.
How Much Weight Can Your Roof Hold?
How much weight can your roof hold is a question most every homeowner cannot answer, unless, they recently had a new roof installed. Roofing material is manufactured under different weight specifications.
Snow and ice can be heavy, and if your roof is not structured to manage the weight, you could be in for a really bad experience. One cubic foot of snow can range in weight from around seven to twenty pounds depending on the density of the snow and the water content.
A cubic foot of ice can weigh in excess of 57 pounds. Of course, the next question is how much weight can the average roof handle. The answer is it varies. It depends on the type of roofing materials that were used in the construction of the roof, shingle roofing installation, and the age of the roof.
The average residential roofing materials are designed to hold about 20 pounds of weight per cubic foot. Of course, the older the roof the less likely it has a higher weight rating. Additionally, the older the roof the more wear and tear it has been under and the less structurally sound it is likely to be.
Ice and snow are both risk factors to your roof and can result in winter roof damage. While roof collapse from snow and ice build-up is on the extreme end of the spectrum, there is plenty of other winter roof damage that snow and ice can cause.
if you had to choose the biggest culprit when it comes to winter roof damage, hands down it would be ice. Learn more about what ice can do to your roof in the winter.
Ice and Roof Leaks
Ice is nothing more than frozen water. Of course, it is a lot more destructive than water, but nonetheless, ice is just water. There are certain indisputable facts about ice. It expands, and it will eventually melt.
This is how roof damage plays out because of ice. The ice expands between shingles or between your gutters. As the ice expands it slowly pulls away the roofing material that is protecting your home. As the ice melts it contracts, unfortunately, the roofing material that was pulled away from the structure is not in place to protect your home. The water begins to run off from the ice melting and seeps under the roofing material and causes a leak.
Ice dams are another downfall of the winter weather. An ice dam forms and starts to melt. The water runoff will run down the roof until it reaches the colder edge of the roof where new ice forms. As the ice forms, it moves in an upward motion getting thicker and thicker with time, trapping water underneath. The water that is trapped under the dam seeps under the shingles and causes a leak. You wind up with a mess.
Icicles are lovely to look at as they hang off your eaves and gutters, but the weight of that ice can easily pull gutters away from the building and cause other problems. Of course, there is also the risk that ice will clog the gutters and downspouts if there is debris left in the gutters,and cause runoff. Professional gutter services can help you to prepare for winter and prevent clogs.
You are not out of the woods even if you do not get a lot of ice and snow in the winter time. There are other risks in the winter that can cause winter roof damage.
No Snow? You Still Get Storms
In some regions of the country, snow is not an issue in the winter, but that does not mean there is no threat to your roofing. High winds, downpours, even too much sun is a threat to your roof in the winter.
According to the experts it is not just the colder climate that has winter roof damage worries. Even in the mildest regions, there are days when the heat has to be turned on, as soon as the heat goes on, you are at risk for attic condensation. Attic condensation can damage your roof and your ceiling.
There is no doubt that there are year-round risks to your roof no matter where you live. Don’t be lulled into thinking that your roof is safe at any time of year. How can you better the odds that you will not find yourself in need of emergency roof repair? Follow a few simple steps and you will be able to keep your roof in top-notch condition.
Fix it When It Needs It
Winter roof damage is often caused by neglect. Not neglect in the manner or you are abusing your roof, but neglect in the manner that you are not paying attention to subtle signs that you should contact a trusted roof repair contractor.
Managing any repairs as they crop up is the absolute best way to manage your roofing needs. There are several truths when it comes to your roof:
- Roofing problems get worse with time. If you do not address a small roofing problem, it will turn into a bigger problem that will be more costly.
- Your roof is protecting your most important investment. Around 65% of homeowners have a mortgage on their home. It is one of the largest investments you will ever make. Taking care of your roof takes care of your investment.
- Maintenance is necessary for your roof.
A lot of homeowners make the mistake of not paying enough attention to their roofs. As a matter of fact, many homeowners are unaware that their roof needs maintenance like any other area of their home. A roof repair contractor can do a quick inspection of your roof and diagnose any problems so they can be addressed before they become bigger problems.
Making necessary repairs, having annual inspections done, and having maintenance done will help to prevent the bigger issues. Giving your roof the attention it needs will help to save on costs and ultimately reduce risk of serious property damage.
When It Can’t Be Fixed
There are some cases when roof restoration is less of an option and roof replacement is the better option. How do you know when it is time to get a new roof?
According to the experts, if you have had your roof repaired more than 4 times in the last 5 years and your roof is older than 15 years, it may be time to replace your roof, however don’t write off roof restorations quite yet.
In some cases, re-roofing can be the perfect go-between repairs and replacement. Re-roofing can only be done one time. It is a process where the old roof is left in place and a new roof is built right over the old roof. This can be a less expensive option that gives you great quality results.
This process can give you a brand new roof without any of the demolition costs and delays. Your best option to learn more about re-roofing and other roof restoration options to get your roof in like-new condition before the winter is to contact trusted roofing services.
What Can You Do To Prepare Your Roof For the Winter
Prevention is the cure when it comes to protecting your roof this winter. There are a few things you can do on your own to ensure that you are setting your roof up to avoid winter roof damage.
Start with your gutters. If you cannot get up on the ladder to clean your gutters, then it is an important enough activity that you hire someone. It is vital that your gutters are in good repair and that they are cleaned regularly. Debris can quickly pile up in your gutters leaving them unable to function.
Why are gutters so important? Gutters help to move water away from the roof and keep it away from your foundation. Many foundation problems are actually roofing problems. Ensuring that you are directing water away from your house is critical.
Once the gutters are cleaned up, there is still more to do. You want to periodically check your gutters to ensure all the connectors are tight and that the gutter and downspout is secured to the house. Over time these connections can loosen up, periodic checks can help to reveal problem areas and give you the opportunity to correct them before they become bigger problems.
Clearing hanging limbs is also an important pre-winter activity. Winter roof damage often occurs when frozen limbs break under the weight of the ice and come crashing down on to the roof. Cutting limbs back that are hanging near the roof is an easy way to protect your roof from winter roof damage. Taking a proactive stance and having the limbs cleared will help to avoid any winter roof damage.
It is also a good time to clear debris off your roof (if you cant get a roofer who can). Fallen leaves and other organic debris can get trapped under snow and ice and hasten decay. The decaying organic material can be a catalyst for winter roof damage.
Follow Healthy Roof Practices
If you suspect winter roof damage the best thing you can do is address the problem immediately. Healthy roof practices like calling in an expert when you need to is one of the best ways to minimize damage and costs.
Other healthy roof practices include:
- Checking your attic periodically for any wet spots or condensation. At no point should there be any seepage from the roof, and there should be no condensation if your roof is adequately vented. Condensation can point to a failing vent that may be packed with ice or snow. In some cases, vents have been packed with birds nests. Keep an eye on your attic for a healthy roof.
- If you do need to replace your roof pick appropriate materials for your region. Any professional roofing services that are committed to quality will help you to make an informed decision about the roofing materials that will work best in your region. Some homeowners buck the system and shop solely by price and go with the least expensive option. Value when it comes to roofing is found in quality and durability. Choose materials that are specifically designed for your region and that will deliver the best value.
- Don’t ignore your roof. If you want a healthy roof system you have to put the time in. It can be easy to ignore your roof until there is a problem like winter roof damage. It is always best to take the preventive steps and keep an eye on things overhead to be able to derail problems before they grow.
Winter, spring, summer or fall your roof system is a very important part of your home. It protects every other system in your home and helps to maintain energy efficiency. If you can avoid winter roof damage by taking a few steps right now, that is the absolute best way to save on costs and have peace of mind.
Don’t think that just because your roof made it through the summer storm seasons that you do not have to worry about it. Winter roof damage is a very real possibility no matter where you live. If you take care of your roof it will take care of your home. If you need help call a trusted roofer that can help you to take care of your roof. Winter roof damage takes on an entirely different sense of urgency. It can be a harder job on the roofer during the winter months. If you can avoid winter roof damage you should you will save yourself a lot of headaches, stress, and money.