PREVENTING WINTER ROOF DAMAGE
Winter storms cause enough delays in your life — the last thing you need is one damaging your roof. Are you doing working to prevent winter roof damage?
Winter storms in Colorado can hit hard and fast, and they can really test the strength of your home. There’s no part of the house more vulnerable to winter damage than the roof. There are a number of important steps you can take to prevent winter roof damage. Obviously, these steps won’t completely eliminate the possibility of roof damage, but they will minimize your risk.
The first step is to get a pre-winter roof inspection by a roofing professional. This will point out any weaknesses like missing or loose shingles, misplaced flashing, cracked tar or caulk, and potential weak points that could cause leakage around chimneys and vents. These problems need to be fixed before the first snow, or the freeze/thaw cycle can worsen the damage. You should also get a roof inspection immediately after winter to correct any damage.
Winter storms often include more than just snow and ice; they can also come with hail. There isn’t too much you to can do to fully prevent hail damage other than fully upgrading your roof to a heftier shingle. However, you can make sure you know what hail does! Hail impacts, even ones that only leave small marks, can weaken shingles and cause leaking and cracking later one. It’s best to have an inspection after a major hail storm and replace all damaged shingles.
Storms can also come with strong winds that can break tree branches onto your roof. A punctured roof is a major emergency, and one that can’t be put on hold. Make sure you have an emergency number available just in case. You can also avoid this problem by cutting back dead or overhanging tree branches before winter starts.
Avoiding Roof Collapse
When snow piles up on your roof, it’s important that the building is structurally capable of supporting the pressure. Make sure you know your roof’s load-bearing capabilities, and be ready to remove excess snow if the weight starts to get too high.
Snow weighs about seven pounds per cubic foot when fluffy, 15 pounds for average density snow, and 20 pounds for compacted snow. Wet snow and ice weigh even more. Generally, if there’s three feet of snow or two inches of ice, call for removal.
You can call professionals to remove the snow from your roof, or you can try it yourself. A ladder and a broom can be used to knock snow off the roof’s edge, or you can use a roof rake from ground level. If you have to walk on the roof, use extreme caution.
Preventing Ice Dams
Warm air rising inside the house warms the roof, causing melt-off to form and run into the eaves. Since the eaves are colder, the water refreezes there. The ice this causes backups on your roof, which can then freeze and thaw multiple times. This creates multiple leakage points, leading to water stains and mold formation.
Cleaning out the gutters, dousing the eaves with salt brine, and clearing excess snow off the eaves before it can freeze will all help prevent this. You should also ensure your attic is well-insulated and turn down the heat to minimize ice damming.
Following these tips will prevent roof damage and extend the life of your roof. They will also protect your home from roof collapse and water damage.