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Common Roofing Problems After a Visit from Old Man Winter

Topic: Seasonal Prep

Springtime weather is on the way. We may impatiently anticipate warm, spring weather while the roof on your house might disagree. Year after year, Old Man Winter brings on freezing temperatures and heavy snow, leaving unfortunate roof damages. Are you experiencing roof condensation, ice dams or deteriorating shingles? Learn about three common winter roof issues and the solutions for stopping damages in their tracks.

Winter Roofing Issues

Common Issue #1: Condensation.

Believe it or not, roofing systems face the similar phenomenon of a cool drink on a summer day. Months of freezing temperatures create condensation as soon as spring air hits. After a hard winter of frigid, icy rooftops and heavy snow, humid air seeps into the cracks, forming gruesome mold, wet insulation and roof failure. The science? The incoming warm air mixes with a cold roof assembly, causing moisture to damage the entire structure of the building.

How to fix it? Acknowledge waterproofing deficiencies.  

Whether there’s leakage, ceiling coloring or cracks, be aware of possible warning signs to stay ahead of the trouble. The first step for stopping damaging condensation is to ensure proper ventilation. Avoid roofing condensation issues by adding more insulation or vapor barriers to prevent problems before they occur.

Common Issue #2: Ice Dams.

While ice dams are related to condensation due to moisture and melting problems, ice dams can be more serious and harder to prevent. Ice dams are large concentrations of ice that accumulate over the eaves, gutters and in the valleys of a roof, preventing melting ice from going through the gutters and downspouts. Roofs are not the only structure affected by ice dams. Leaks in the attic, roof cavity and walls bring in unexpected mold contamination and wood-destroying insects.

How to fix it? Bring on (and off) the heat.

When preventing ice dams, the main goal is to keep the snow from accumulating and to keep the area from freezing. Before the ice occurs, use heat tape or cables to line along the eaves, gutters and in the valleys. If ice dams start to form, one strategy is to use a roof rake to remove snow, then use a calcium chloride ice melt solution to melt the ice. An important note is to NOT turn up the heat in the building. Increasing interior temperatures is only going to make the ice melt quicker and cause more damage.

Common Issue #3: Deteriorating Shingles.

Cracking shingles increase drastically after a frozen winter, making yearly inspections and upkeep a high priority. Deteriorating shingles are not visually appealing and cause unfortunate roof leaks. (Side note: Problems caused by condensation and ice dams are less likely with strong rooftop shingles.)  Another common problem is people walking on rooftops to shovel off large amounts of snow. Not only is this extremely dangerous, but the added walking weight also wears away shingles with every step.

How to fix it? Replace or repair.

First, identify the location of the roof leak or damaged shingle(s) and determine the repair. You can use cement glue and aluminum flashing for a single quick fix, or even grab your hammer and replace the broken shingle yourself. Another time-saving trick is to find weather repellant or seal for adding extra protection to your shingles.

As the winter comes to an end, fixing roof damages is just beginning. Looking for help in taking care of the damages brought on by Old Man Winter? Contact the pros at Van Rooy today! Whether you’re experiencing roof condensation issues, unbreakable ice dams or crumbling shingles, Van Rooy’s repair services can take care of your home’s winter damages before spring is here.

Enjoy learning about common winter roofing issues? Check out more information from Van Rooy on ice dams.