Redefining Restoration

Common Roofing Problems After a Visit from Old Man Winter

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.

Ice Dams: How to Safely Remove and Prevent Them

“Those icicles have been known to kill people!”

Remember that quote from A Christmas Story? It’s one of the many memorable lines from one of the best holiday films of all time, which is most likely playing on some television channel as you read this.

Although young Ralphie had to think fast after he nearly shot his eye out, ice really does pose a number of serious winter threats. In today’s post, we’re focusing on ice dams. Keep reading to find out what they are, and how you can remove and prevent ice dams from forming in your gutters.

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Identifying Ice Dams

Ice dams form when melting snow turns into ice at the edge of your roof. Snowmelt may occur on a sunny day, or from heated air in your attic or upper floor. Over time and with enough snowfall, those chunks of ice turn into literal dams by blocking water properly draining. Ice dams can form in gutters. If those gutters get heavy enough they can break, acting as a slide for massive “missiles” of solid ice. Ice dams can also form underneath roof shingles, causing water leaks and other major damage to your home’s interior and exterior.

Removing Ice Dams Safely

Just as it works on your walks and driveway, ice melt can be an effective tool against ice dams, when it’s used the right way. If you discover an ice dam, make sure to use calcium chloride ice melt. Melts made of sodium chloride or other ingredients may damage your roof.

Using a roof rake, first remove a few feet of snow starting at the edge of your roof. Once the ice dam is uncovered, fill old socks or pantyhose with the calcium chloride ice melt, and place across the ice dam. Let the solution slowly melt the ice. It’s also a good idea to cover any decorative landscaping such as plants or bushes if they are directly under the ice dam. Melting calcium chloride may damage shrubbery.

Another thing you can do to stop ice dams from getting bigger is to place box fans in your attic under where ice dams are forming outside. The cooler air created by these fans will freeze water on your roof in mere minutes.

Preventing Ice Dams

Because they form from melting snow, the most effective way to prevent ice dams is to prevent snow from accumulating on your roof. Roof rakes are long devices, which allow you to stay on the ground while pulling snow off the roof. Be sure not to let snow build up over entryways, garages, decks/patios, sidewalks, and driveways.

Adding insulation to the ceilings and floors of your attic can help prevent escaping heat from your home and therefore ice dams, too. Extra insulation has the added bonus of helping lower your utility bills. Another trick is to seal air leaks and insulate HVAC ductwork.

Whether it’s removing them or preventing them, working to remedy ice dams and snow accumulation can be a dangerous job, especially if you have a multiple-story or split-level home, or a steep roof. Do you have a home that may be prone to ice dams? Has an ice dam already caused damage to your home? Contact the pros at Van Rooy today! From roof repairs to renovations and more, we can help protect and restore your home in no time at all.

They may not shoot your eye out, but it never hurts to keep an eye out for ice dams. Happy holidays from Van Rooy Restoration!

Is Your Roof at Risk This Winter?

Lots of people love winter, and it’s easy to see why. Snow makes everything look clean and quiet. Underneath that fresh blanket of powder, though, lie some hidden risks that can spell disaster for your roof.

Here are three common winter roof problems, with tips from the pros at Van Rooy Restoration on how to fix and prevent each of them.

winter roofing problems

Condensation

Just like your foggy breath on a cold February morning, condensation occurs when warm air is rapidly cooled. As snow falls and settles on your roof, condensation can form under your shingles and in your attic. This can lead to major problems like mold and mildew growth, and the weakening of vital support structures in your house.

You can reduce and eliminate condensation by having a licensed expert install a proper ventilation system in your attic. Routine maintenance is also key – make sure you regularly check your attic and roof for cracks, holes, and damaged shingles. And never let water pool on your roof. If you notice any issues, call a roofing expert immediately to prevent further damage.

Icicles & Ice Dams

Mix sun, snow, and freezing temperatures, and what do you get? Ice. Because it adds a lot of extra weight, ice shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate on your roof. Icicles pose a safety hazard to people and animals, and ice dams – formed when water pools under roof shingles, and keeps freezing and refreezing as it trickles down – can cause major structural damage to your house.

Keeping gutters clean and sweeping snow from the roof will help prevent icicles and ice dams. You can also knock down small icicles before they have the chance to grow. Proper attic ventilation and insulation, along with sealing leaks, will protect your roof from dangerous ice dams.

Tree Limbs

Trees provide a natural source of shade, as well as a boost to your property value, but overhanging limbs and branches can break under the added weight of snow and ice, and come crashing through your roof.

Have a certified arborist or landscaper inspect your property each year, so that overhanging limbs can be carefully removed without damaging your roof or hurting the tree. Trim smaller, manageable branches that grow too close to your roof or home, as these promote mold growth.

Roof Emergency? Count on Us!

You have enough things to worry about during the winter – your roof’s integrity shouldn’t be one of them. If you’re interested in our roofing services or a roofing failure does occur, give us a call. From water damage restoration, to storm damage repair and expert remodeling & construction, there is nothing Old Man Winter can throw at your home that we can’t fix. Enjoy the snow out there, and keep your family AND your home safe this winter!