The Top Three Winter Roof Threats
Winter is no longer coming, it’s here, and the accumulation of water, snow, and ice can wreak havoc on your roof if left unaddressed. Though you may have already taken steps to prepare for the inclement weather, there are still a few things that you should be keeping an eye out for during the winter season.
Be sure to call your local Portland roofers before taking any of the following matters into your own hands. As easy as it might seem to climb a ladder and handle these issues yourself, it’s always best to call a professional.
1. Ice Dams
An ice dam is almost exactly as it sounds. It occurs when freezing rain or snow melts and slides down the roof, but then refreezes, causing a dam. This dam, or wall of ice, then blocks any further melting snow or rain from dripping off of the roof. The water that gets backed up can leak through the roof and into the home, causing a myriad of other issues.
If left unaddressed, the water will not only damage the roof itself but can also leak into the home and cause damage to the walls, ceilings, and insulation as well. Furthermore, if moisture in the house is not attended to, it can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
What Causes Ice Dams on the Roof?
Simply put, ice dams occur when there is an imbalance of surface temperatures on the roof. More specifically, when the higher portion of the roof is warm, and the lower part is at or below freezing. This usually happens when a heat source from inside the house, or the sun, heat particular areas of the roof and not others.
Ice Dam Prevention
Heat loss and air-leakage from the house into the attic space is what most often leads to ice dams. To prevent this from happening, be sure to check that your ceiling is airtight so that no warm air can escape into the attic. Beyond that, increase or replace ceiling and roof insulation to avoid heat loss.
Though icicles hanging from the roof or gutters may give your home that majestic winter wonderland look, they are actually quite damaging. If left to grow, icicles are not only dangerous to anyone or anything in their path when they fall, but their weight can damage the roof as well.
Also, similarly to ice dams, icicles can have the same sort of effect as they block any rain and melting snow from adequately flowing off of the roof.
What Causes Icicles on the Roof or Gutters?
Icicles form when melting snow or rain flows down the roof and then refreezes as it drips from the roof or gutters. Small icicles are not a cause for concern, but if you are noticing a more significant than usual icicle accumulation, there may be a larger issue at hand.
If icicles are hanging from the roof, it may be as a result of an ice dam. In this case, even if you knock the icicles down, they will likely keep forming until the root of the ice dam is found and taken care of.
If the icicles are forming on the gutters, it is likely because the gutters are backed up with frozen water or debris that never got cleared out. When gutters become weighed down from icicles, they can become bent or even tear away from the roof.
If the icicles are forming from melting snow on the roof, buying a snow rake and sweeping the snow from the roof will help. However, if they are developing from ice dams, then the only way to prevent the icicles is first to solve your ice dam issue.
If the gutters are the problem, you may need to wait until the weather warms up again to be able to clear them out. Just be sure to keep up with knocking the icicles off, so they don’t weigh the gutters down in the meantime. Then, come the following Fall, make sure your gutters are all cleared out before the inclement weather starts back up again.
3. Flashing Leaks
Flashing is the thin metal material installed around certain features on the roof, such as the chimney, skylights, and ventilation fans, as well as around the perimeter of the roof. Leaks around the flashing can sometimes occur from poor installation and improper sealing techniques. However, even with proper installation, flashing will wear down over time and tends to leak most often around wintertime.
What Causes Flashing Leaks?
Flashing can become damaged over time from storms and high winds, or it can weather and corrode as it ages. The damaged flashing then tends to pull away, exposing the underlying structure of the roof. Come winter, any water that puddles on the roof will leak down into the attic through the damaged flashing.
Flashing Leak Prevention
The best way to prevent flashing leaks is to have your roof inspected by a roofer in Portland before the wet winter weather hits. It is going to be much easier to deal with repairing or installing new flashing during the dryer months than it will be in the dead of winter.
Play It Safe: Call a Roofing Contractor
When it comes to roof repairs, you should always use a professional. Roofs can be tricky and dangerous to traverse even in the dryer months of the year. If you are knocking down icicles or sweeping the snow off with a snow rake, you will be fine, but anything that involves climbing up onto the roof should be left to the experts.
How Dr. Roof Can Help
As your local Portland, OR roofing experts, Dr. Roof, Inc. is equipped to handle any issue or need that you have with your roof this winter season. Our hand-picked, skilled roofers are committed to excellent service, providing you with the latest roofing technology and materials to ensure you get the highest quality available.