Did you know that your roof can make up 40% of your home’s view from the curb? And yet most of us hardly think about our roofs until something goes wrong. In a way, that’s a good thing. Your roof shouldn’t be the center of attention. But the condition of your roof is something that you should at least check on a few times a year. Keeping your roof clean, clear, and well maintained will extend its life. So make it a habit to check on your roof at least once a season. It’s especially important to inspect your roof before the colder months of winter. Snow, ice, rain, and wind can threaten your dwelling if your roof isn’t prepared for the most common winter dangers for your roof. Knowing the risks and preparing for them is vital to your safety.
In areas with lots of snow, such as in North Georgia, one of the most common roof problems during winter is ice dams. An ice dam forms when the temperature at a higher part of the roof is above 32º, and the temperature lower down, usually near the edge, is below 32º. Melting water from above hits the freezing temperatures at the edges of your roof and forms ice. As more water melts, the ice dam becomes thicker. Eventually, liquid water begins to build up behind the ice dam with nowhere to go.
Sitting water is about the worst possible situation for a roof. Water always flows to the lowest point, and the standing water will find any cracks in your roof that allow it to flow downward. Often, water comes in through tiny cracks beneath the shingles of your roof. It could also penetrate any roof cracking or blemishes in the exterior of your dwelling. The outcome could be severe water damage that may also lead to mold growth or structural damage.
To combat ice dams, you need to prevent the upper part of the roof from becoming unnaturally warm. The most common source of warmth on a roof is conduction from warm air in the attic. To prevent a warm roof, the ceiling below the attic must be sealed completely to stop the flow of warm air into the attic.
Never try to break an ice dam yourself. Spraying the ice dam with a hose on a warm day can create channels in the dam that allow the built-up water to escape, but this is only a very temporary solution. Trying to knock off the ice dam could damage your roof, so call a roofer immediately if you notice ice dams forming on your roof.
If your roof is older or it’s been subjected to harsh weather in recent years, you could be at risk for roof leaks. Leaks are most common in spots where shingles are missing or broken. Your roof may also leak if your roof flashing is compromised. Loose or rusted flashing puts your home at a higher risk for water penetrating your attic. This could prove hazardous to the roof structure and damage insulation. If it goes unnoticed for an extended amount of time, it could also decay or discolor the interior walls and ceiling of your dwelling.
If your roof has seen little to no maintenance over many years, it could be at a high risk of caving in. While this is rare, it is more common in homes that have neglected to maintain their roofs. If you experience significant amounts of snow, the snow could build up and place pressure on the rotted, damaged, or otherwise weakened areas of the roof.
Avoiding Winter Dangers for Your Roof
No matter the age or condition of your roof, it’s vital that your roofer inspect it regularly to ensure that the above winter dangers for your roof don’t occur. With a quick inspection, Eagle Watch Roofing can identify any potential risks and repair them before they become an issue.