Who doesn’t love a good snowstorm to get onto the fresh powder at Colorado’s best ski resorts or kick back and enjoy a nice snow day? Unfortunately, even though we get to enjoy the snow, it can come with larger consequences. All this snow in reality usually leads to longer commute times and worsening infrastructure in your community, such as roads – this can also be said for your roof! Below are five ways snow and ice can impact your roof immensely that are important to know when living in areas that experience all factors of winter.
What damage can snow and ice do to my roof?
If your current housing location ever experiences extremely heavy snowfall it can be detrimental to your roof. If the weight of all the snow exceeds your roof’s snow load rating then you could experience a portion of your roof collapsing or even the entire roof. This can be fatal to those who reside in the home if your entire roof collapses and will cause serious property damage.
Moisture & Mold Growth
Roof leaks can lead to moisture and mold growth in your attic and below. This can happen if the snow starts to melt at a high point on your roof and the water flows down, coming into contact with colder edges of your roof and then freezing again forming a sort of ridge of ice, or an “ice dam”. All this excess water that wants to flow down will eventually back up underneath your roof and its shingles, therefore seeping into the layers below which is usually your attic or top floor of your home. IF this happens continuously, it will eventually get down into the drywall and insulation, causing great damage to not only your roof but the interior of your home as well.
Damage to Downspouts & Gutters
Above we mentioned possible “ice dams”. Well, these can build up in your gutters. All the melting snow that has collected in your gutters during the snowfall can become extremely heavy, causing downed gutters if not sufficiently fastened. No one loves to clean out their gutters during the fall after the leaves are done falling, but not doing so can hinder you during the winter. All that debris build-up when the snow starts to melt can cause blockage in the downspouts and gutters causing back-ups. These back-ups can lead to the water freezing while being trapped. Water expands when it freezes and that can lead to cracks in your gutters and downspouts and possible separation from your roof from the weight.
Worsen Existing Problems
Ice and snow can clearly cause new problems to your roof, but if you have existing issues with your roof the winter season can exacerbate these. If you already have loose shingles and failing gutters, these problems will only get worse with the added pressure of the ice and snow.
Icicles are much like ice dams as they are mostly an ice buildup for melting snow. They cause the same damage as the ice dams, with cracking of your gutters or downspouts as well as possible leaks to lead to mold and moisture growth. Icicles can also dislodge from the roof and fall on people or animals walking by or beneath and can be dangerous with the weight and speed of them falling.
How best to prepare your roof for a long winter?
Check your roofline
Check your roofline for any signs of dips, curves, or sagging as this can show signs of possible damage. Any sagging rooflines can be caused by home framing issues or a saturated roof deck. The added stress of snow and ice can cause more stress on your roofline and therefore more damage. It is best to assess it before the winter season and address any issues beforehand.
Check the attic for signs of water damage
The first signs of a leaky roof can usually be found in your attic. Signs of water damage usually include water spots on walls or floors, they can be dried or puddles. It’s best to get any signs of water checked out immediately so you can get your roof fixed timely and cause less damage to your property.
Clean, Clean, and Clean
No one loves or even thinks about cleaning their actual roof of debris, but it’s best to get up there and clean off any twigs or leaves. If you don’t clean up the debris then the piles can eventually get waterlogged during the winter months causing water damage from becoming soggy. You also need to ensure that you’re cleaning out your gutters. Cleaning out your gutters can prevent backups in your system and allow the melting snow to flow freely – remember, you don’t want to have any ice dams buildup.
Cutaway any low hanging branches from neighboring trees
If you have many trees in your yard that overhang your roof even just slightly then it’s best to trim them up. Snow and ice tend to build up on the limbs of trees during storms which can add a lot of weight to them. All this extra weight can stress the limb and it might eventually break off, possibly falling directly onto your roof. The force of the limb falling can cause shingles to dislodge or create small holes for water to leak through.
Get an inspection of your roof
The best way to ensure you won’t have any serious winter storm damage is to get your roof inspected before the winter months. One small repair needed for your roof can quickly turn into a whole roof repair. It’s best to find any problems early on and get them fixed before needing extensive repairs done.
As winter is coming to an end here in Denver, CO, are you worried your roof may have been damaged by snow and ice? Whether needing work on your home or commercial roof, Red Hawk Roofing is your trusted hail, wind, and storm damage expert – contact us for a free inspection and consultation.