Winter is here, which means you may be preparing to face an onslaught of snow, ice, and cold air. Winter weather can do significant damage to a home. Your roof is especially vulnerable because it can serve as a collection point for snow, rain, ice, and other forms of moisture. Before the weather gets too bad, it's important that you do a quick check of your roof for areas of weakness. Here are four specific hazards and how you can protect against them.
Melted snow and ice leaking into your home. If you have snow or ice, you're bound to get water eventually. When the snow and ice does melt, you want to make sure that it goes to your gutters and not underneath your shingles. To prevent moisture from leaking in, you should check your shingles to make sure they're all in good condition. If some are cracked or out of place, you may need to replace them. Also, check all of the flashing, joints, and valleys on your roof to make sure there aren't any loose or cracked areas where moisture can find its way in.
Clogged gutters. Gutter blockages are problematic any time of year, but are especially bad in the winter. When your gutters are full of debris, there's no room for melted snow and water to drain appropriately. The result is that the water just accumulates in your gutters until it eventually overflows. That can cause water to pool on your roof. The problem becomes even worse if the temperature drops. Then all that accumulated water freezes and you're left with ice blocks in your gutters and on your roof. The weight of that ice can cause cracks and may even cause your gutters to fall off. Have your gutters cleaned before it's too late.
Condensation. This is a tricky issue that actually occurs inside your home. It happens when warm air hits a cold surface and forms moisture. With your roof, condensation can occur when your heated internal air hits the inside of your cold roof. That moisture can accumulate and cause mold and mildew. This often happens in attics where homeowners can't really see what's going on. You can install new insulation or a protective shield to keep warm air from hitting the roof.
Ice damming. When ice or snow hits your roof, it usually melts because it feels the heat coming from inside your home. Then that water trickles down your roof. However, if it's cold enough out, the water could freeze again before it makes it to the gutter. This often happens on overhangs where the roof doesn't actually cover the interior of the home. The best way to prevent ice damming is to install venting that will distribute heat throughout the entire roof. That will keep the water flowing properly.
Talk to a residential roofing contractor such as Emerald Roofing about other preventative steps you can take. They can inspect your roof and recommend options.