Even the most resilient and well-maintained roof can suffer extensive damage. During this time of year, make sure to watch out for leaks — if not addressed, they can lead to expensive repairs. Rather than wait for the harsh winter weather to subside or for spring to arrive, it’s best to address the problem immediately.
The key to protecting your roofing system from this seasonal threat is to learn the causes behind it. In this post, Pro Quality Construction Inc., a top roof repair contractor, takes a look at the potential sources of winter roof leaks and the steps that can be done to address them.
Potential Sources of Winter Roof Leaks
Winter roof leaks can come from many different sources. Here’s a look at some of the most common:
1. Damaged or Loose Flashing
Flashings are usually made of galvanized steel or aluminum, and are used to cover areas where the roof meets a wall or around penetrations like chimneys, vents, and skylights. Essentially, they protect these parts against water intrusion. Like shingles, exhaust vents, and other roofing components, they can be susceptible to damage from the elements. In fact, the fasteners that keep them in place may loosen as a result of expanding ice. This, in turn, creates gaps where moisture can enter your roof and attic. Proper installation and maintenance are imperative to keep the flashings secure in the winter.
2. Cracked or Missing Shingles
Cracked, broken, missing or loose shingles expose the roof to the elements, making the entire system vulnerable to unexpected leaks during the winter. This is one reason why it pays to invest in roof maintenance and repair before the winter season to make sure it remains intact despite the harsh winter weather. If you notice these problems in the middle of winter, however, get in touch with expert roofers as soon as possible.
3. Ice Dams
Ice dams form when heat from inside the house escapes through the attic and melts the snow above the roof, which then flows down to colder areas of the roof and refreezes. The resulting ridge or barrier made of ice will trap water and cause potential leaks that damage the roof’s sheathing and rafters.
4. Heavy Snow Loads
Excess snow on a poorly constructed roof puts the structure under immense stress, which may result in sagging and, in some cases, a collapse. It is for this reason that reputable roofing companies take into consideration weather conditions when planning new roof construction and replacement projects. You can remove accumulated snow to minimize the pressure it exerts on your roof, though it would be best to let a professional do the job for you. If you are due to have your roof replaced, talk to your roofing contractor about reinforcing the existing roof rafters and trusses.
5. Attic Condensation
Attic condensation occurs when the warmth generated in your home turns to moisture as it reaches the unventilated and uninsulated attic. Condensation can cause wet spots that encourage mold and mildew growth, as well as rot that can weaken the roof’s structural components. Although attic condensation is not a roof leak, its presence often indicates that there could be an underlying problem. Check for water stains, mold growth and other signs of attic condensation before calling your roof repair contractor for a thorough assessment.
6. Plumbing Problems
Like attic condensation, plumbing problems usually emerge during winter when temperatures drop and water pipes freeze within your walls or ceiling. You may experience leaks in addition to gushing noises produced by frozen pipes. Insulating your plumbing system properly is an effective way to avoid this problem.
Solutions for Winter Roof Leaks
Prevention remains the best option when it comes to protecting your roof and siding from leaks and other issues that may occur in the winter months. Keep in mind the following:
- Roof Ventilation
Ensuring proper ventilation is crucial to the longevity, durability and weather performance of your roofing system. Check the exhaust vents if they are free of blockages. Also, have your local roofing contractor inspect both intake and exhaust vents if they are capable enough to promote air circulation inside the attic and minimize the effects of attic condensation like mold growth and ice dams.
- Roof Insulation
Installing additional insulation to keep out cold winter temperatures is another way to ensure moisture doesn’t enter your home. You can install fiberglass or blown-in insulation by hiring an insulation expert. Furthermore, some roofing options have excellent UV-reflective properties that reflect heat away from your home.
- Roof Replacement
If your roof is beyond its average life span, it would be sensible to plan a roof replacement project. This way, you can rest easy knowing your new investment can withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at it, including the harsh winter weather. Look for a certified roofer who will advise you on the best materials to use and utilizes their training to carry out the latest installation techniques.
- Regular Roof Maintenance
If your roof still has years left in its life span, make sure to keep it well-maintained. A regular roof maintenance routine allows you to stay ahead of issues before they turn worse. The expertise of a team of roofers is crucial here — they’ll be able to identify visible and hidden damage and conduct minor repairs that prolong its lifespan and improve its performance. Count on a certified local roofer to thoroughly inspect your roof once or twice a year.
When it comes to exceptional roofing services, look no further than Pro Quality Construction Inc. As a GAF Master Elite® contractor, we take pride in installing and maintaining residential roofing systems that not only increase curb appeal but also ensure performance and efficiency for years to come.
Count on us for your siding needs as well. We’ll remove your damaged or outdated siding and replace it with durable vinyl siding or polymer shakes. The siding options we install come in a wide variety of colors, styles and textures, and we can help you choose the siding that looks best on your home. To learn more about our home improvement services, call us at (844) 499-7878 or fill out this contact form to get started. To learn more about our home improvement services, call us at (844) 499-7878, or fill out this contact form to request an estimate.