Winter is especially hard on roofs. When water on the roof turns to ice, it can damage the infrastructure of your home or commercial building. There are many things you can do to protect your roof from winter damage. Knowing the most common cold weather roofing problems and how to avoid them can help you take care of your property and avoid roof leaks.
Leaks are a common problem, especially on old roofing. Whether your roof is brand new or decades old, there are many winter problems that can cause a leak - and many things you can do to protect your roof from leaks.
Leaks are especially common around the openings and cracks near vents and chimneys. In these areas, the roof is protected by thin pieces of metal called flashing. Proper flashing installation is critical as poor installation will lead to ever worsening leaks.
How to avoid:
One way to avoid roof leaks is to check the flashing at the beginning of every season to ensure the flashing is sealed tight. Even properly installed flashing will begin to deteriorate with time, so as your roof ages, these inspections become even more important. Have your roofing contractor inspect your roof in the fall, before the winter snow and freezing rain. You'll need enough time for your roofing contractor to inspect the flashing and make repairs.
While North Carolina is not a particularly snowy state, we do see our fair share of ice (with the occasional snowfall). An ice dam is a problem that occurs when hot spots in the attic cause the upper areas of an icy roof to thaw, while the lower areas remain frozen. Melting ice and snow from the upper section of the roof flows down to the colder, lower areas where it re-freezes, filling the gutters with ice.
Eventually, the ice backs up underneath shingles and flows beneath the sheathing. As water pools behind the dam, it’s likely to leak into your home through cracks and joints in the roofing material, causing damage.
How to avoid:
Ice dams are a complicated problem, because there are many factors that can contribute to the development of an ice dam. Poor ventilation and poor insulation in the attic can lead to "hot spots" (pockets of warmer air in the upper parts of the attic), thus creating the correct conditions for an ice dam to occur.
You'll be able to tell if your roof has an ice dam by the icicles forming in the gutters - and by the leaks that you see in your home. Speak with your roofing contractor to have your insulation and ventilation fixed to prevent future ice dams from occurring. If you do experience an ice dam in your home, get the leak fixed as soon as possible to prevent structural damage.
Icicles are another problem that can plague roofs in the winter. Icicles pose a real danger to people and pets. They're usually a result of clogged gutters and downspouts. Their excessive weight can cause roofing and gutter damage.
How to avoid:
You can avoid icicles in your gutter by scheduling regular gutter cleaning and gutter inspections to ensure water can drain from your roof promptly.
Tree limbs are a hazard, especially if you live somewhere with strong winds. If your property features mature trees and overhanging branches, your home could be at risk. Falling tree limbs can do damage to the structure of your roof, or worse: your entire house.
How to avoid:
The best way to protect your roof from falling tree limbs is to trim any branches within six feet of your roof. Prune back any trees that hang over your roof. Get help from a professional for this project. Trimming tree limbs can be dangerous, especially if the limbs are heavy.
Roofing Maintenance in North Carolina
Winter may be a challenging time of year for your roof, but Pickard Roofing offers regular roof maintenance for your peace of mind. For more information about how you can protect your roof from damage this winter, contact us for an inspection. If your roof is damaged, call us for a free estimate.
At Pickard Roofing, we think Design. Craft. Renew. We are experienced in all types of roofing systems- and provide the right roofing design and selective craftsmanship for renewing our customer’s assets. We invite sustainable building customers to give us a call for your free evaluation. For over 90 years Pickard Roofing Company has installed countless metal, tile, slate, TPO, EPDM, and all types of shingle roofing in the Triangle. Our services include residential, commercial, custom architectural metal fabrication, and historical renovation.