Seasonal Roofing Tips

How To Avoid 6 Common Winter Roofing Problems

Stephen Vernon
April 3, 2023

When you think about your home in the winter, what are the most important things you need it to provide? If warmth, safety and security come to mind, then we are on the same page! Your roof plays one of the biggest parts in keeping your home safe and warm, and the winter season can bring unique challenges to that role.

There are many common roofing problems, but most of them can be avoided with the right preparation. Take the time to learn what these problems are and what steps you can take to prevent them will help your roof and home stay in great condition throughout the coming storms.

1. Condensation

Condensation occurs when there is excess moisture in the air inside your home. As heat rises and moisture reaches the attic space, it meets the air from outside and rapidly cools. This causes the moisture in the warm air to condense and turn into mist or water droplets. In many cases as the water drips, it is mistaken for a leak.

If left alone, this moisture can soak into the attic space and cause water damage and wood rot in the surrounding areas.

How To Prevent: Roof related condensation can usually be fixed by installing adequate attic insulation to prevent the heated air inside the house from escaping into the attic. Many homes have inadequate attic insulation, so if you suspect this may be true for your home, have it inspected to find out.  

2. Leaking Chimney Flashing

Failed chimney flashing is one of the most common causes of roof leaks during the winter season. Chimney flashing is the strip of metal that seals the intersection of the chimney and your roof and prevents water from entering the cracks. These leaks can be identified by checking the area surrounding the chimney for signs of water damage, both inside the attic and on the roof.

How To Prevent: Many leaking chimneys can be prevented by checking the caulking around the flashing for cracks or erosion before winter begins. If damage is present, a simple chimney repair will often solve the problem.

3.  Leaf Buildup and Clogged Gutters

As leaves begin to fall, they land in gutters and rooftop crevices and corners and begin to accumulate. If the leaves aren’t removed from the roof, they will collect moisture and potentially lead to leaks in the shingles underneath them. Leaf-filled gutters easily become clogged, which causes water to get backed up in the gutters and eventually overflow back onto the roof. This can cause water damage that will eventually cause the need for a roof repair.

How To Prevent: The easiest way to avoid problems from leaf accumulation is to clean your roof and gutters after all of the leaves have fallen. Make sure to wait until the leaves are completely gone before cleaning, or else you may have to clean your roof twice.

4. Tree Branches

Low-hanging branches near your roof can pose a significant risk during the winter months. During storms, snow and ice can build up on these branches and weigh them down. Eventually, they will break, and can fall onto your roof causing damages. The force could be enough to crack shingles, dent metal, or cause a partial roof collapse.

How To Prevent: You can prevent this issue by trimming low-hanging branches away from your roof before winter storms set in.

5. Ice Dams

Ice dams are one of the most dangerous roofing problems during the winter months. Ice dams are ridges of ice formed along the roof edge. The most common cause of ice dam formation is inadequate attic insulation. When the attic is poorly insulated, warm air from inside the house can escape into the attic and warm the roofing system enough to melt the snow on the roof.

As the melted snow runs down the roof and reaches the roof edge, it is no longer warmed by the attic and refreezes before it can drain into the gutters, forming an ice dam. Once an ice dam forms, snow melt is unable to drain off of the roof. Instead, it backs up and is forced underneath the shingles, leading to water intrusion inside your attic and roofing system.

How To Prevent: There are several steps you can take to remove an ice dam, ranging from repeatedly spraying the area with warm water, to using a chemical ice melt on the ice ridges. No matter what method you use, be careful. If at any point it becomes dangerous for you to remove the dam, call a professional.

6. Snow Buildup

If heavy snow is left alone on a rooftop after a major snowstorm, the additional weight can push your roof beyond its load-bearing capabilities, causing the roof to collapse. If ice has accumulated as well as snow, this risk is more severe.

How To Prevent: If you notice more than a foot of snow building up on your roof, you should use a roof rake to remove it from your roof. Always stay on the ground while removing rooftop snow, as it makes the roof slippery, and dangerous to walk on.

Cenvar Roofing Can Help With Winter Roofing Problems

If you notice any of these roofing problems present on your roof this winter, Cenvar Roofing can help you fix them. We are a professional roofing company with years of experience repairing Virginia roofs all winter long. Schedule your free estimate today and one of our sales representatives will get the process started.

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