Three Elements Of Winter And How They Can Affect A Roof

31 July 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


When winter rolls around, roofing issues appear to spring up out of nowhere. Often, the roofing issues that surface during winter were present beforehand, but one or more of the elements associated with winter made them worse enough to finally cause symptoms. Here's a look at those three winter elements and how you can keep them from affecting your roof.

Snow Weight

A roof that is in good condition should be able to support at least 20 pounds per square inch of snow before becoming stressed. However, if your roof is beginning to decay or break down, the amount of weight it can support may be greatly diminished. If you're not careful about inspecting your roof for signs of decay, your first indication that something is wrong may be cracks in the walls or sagging of your roof after a heavy snowfall. In the worst scenario, your roof may completely collapse.

Damage caused by too heavy a load on the roof can be expensive or impossible to repair. It's easier and safer to prevent issues like this by keeping an eye out for signs of roof decay, such as leaks, mold, sagging, or shingle loss, and calling a roofing contractor, like Economy Roofing, to repair them before winter hits.

Heating and Thawing Cycles

Water expands when it freezes and contracts again when it thaws. If you have loosened shingles, water may work its way under them, and then pry them up as it freezes. This is particularly a concern if you have ice dams that form on the edges of your roof. They tend to pop gutters off the side of the roof and loosen shingles.

You can keep freezing and thawing cycles from affecting your roof by ensuring all shingles are secure and in good shape before the winter hits. Properly insulating your roof and providing adequate ventilation will help keep ice dams from forming. If you've had ice dams in the past, having more insulation or ventilation added to your roof is wise.

Prolonged Moisture Exposure

In the spring or summer, when precipitation falls, it is typically only in contact with your roof for a short period of time before it runs off or evaporates. In the winter, when temperatures rise a bit, melting chunks of ice and snow put your roof in long-term contact with moisture. This can encourage leaking and deterioration of the roofing underlayment if you have any missing shingles or rips in the tar paper layer of the roof.

Having loose shingles secured before winter hits will help prevent prolonged moisture exposure from causing more extensive damage to your roof and from causing leaks.

In all, the problems caused by winter's most destructive elements can be prevented by keeping your roof in good shape. Having it inspected regularly, and having little issues corrected as they appear, will ensure winter does not turn a little issue into a major leak or roof collapse.