Contributed by Abigail Sabijon
Snowstorms are once again pounding their way through several states in the country, sending them into chilling winter spells. It’s sure good to be sheltered in the comforts of our home. But with all the beating, your house – especially your roof – definitely needs some lovin’ after the cold.
It’s all over the news. The U.S. is once again experiencing one of the harshest winters to date. One winter storm after another only sets temperatures colder and winds stronger. Not to mention the meters of snow dumped on their way. We’ll be seeing that adorable T-Rex shoveling snow once again.
Typical winters may not cause any substantial damage to your roof, but how about these despicable weather conditions?
Common Effects of Harsh Winters on Roofing
Apparently, ice dams aren’t the only roofing dilemmas during not-so-ordinary winters. There are much more serious problems that’ll eventually come up because extreme weathers definitely take a toll on any property. You may be confident your newly replaced roof can withstand the weather, but it still pays to check your roofing system once in a while until the weather improves.
Here are some of the causes of prevalent roofing problems during severe snow:
Sudden Change in Temperature
The transition from less cool weather to a cold range is detrimental to your roof. This is common before spring and in pre-winter, as temperatures can get warm during midday yet drop by nighttime.
In extreme cases, thermal shocks bring about tearing on single-ply membranes. This occurrence exposes your roof to serious impairments like moisture, leaks and even damaged insulators.
Ice dams and icicles develop and form when it gets warmer, melting the pile of snow on your roof. Heat from inside also causes the snow to melt. This sends melted snow flowing towards the eaves of the roof only get exposed to colder air, resulting in freezing.
It certainly isn’t easy to go out and remove the snow up there. With subzero temperature, all you want to do is cuddle up on your nice warm couch and watch TV. However, it’s not a good idea to completely stay indoors when you know your roof is accumulating enough snow.
The roof can only bear so much. The roofing system itself puts on a lot of weight on the foundation. When blankets of snow pile up over time, they add to the weight further. This picture is a potential roof collapse when left as is for a time. That’s why when a generous amount of snow is already up there, suit up and get that plastic shovel.
How heavy is too heavy? That’s the question. It actually depends on your roof’s foundation. However, according to House Logic, a mere six inches of wet snow is equivalent to 38 inches of dry snow. You get the math.
If you think the snow isn’t that much yet, another problem can easily creep in. You have snow build up on top and a warm interior, or when the temperature goes down a bit, it’ll melt. The problem, it doesn’t melt and flow down its way towards the gutters instantly. It takes its time on its spot, inundating your roof to moisture and water.
The water either forms into an ice dam or creeps in your house as a leak if remains undrained for a period of time. Liquids can easily find a way out, so if there’s a ready exit on your roof – like an exposed underlayment, punctured panels, sheathing or missing shingles – they’ll easily trickle down to your attic or ceiling.
Everybody is familiar with blizzards, especially at times like this. To make things worse, blizzard winds are also packed with snow. It wouldn’t be called a storm if winds aren’t that strong to be considered hazardous.
Winds need to be as strong as 35 mph to pass for a blizzard. That’s only the minimum, unfortunately. Sometimes, and like what we’ve experienced recently, winds can get faster than that. Newly replaced roofs still get some beating, let alone an old and unmaintained roof.
Strong winds brought about by the storm can tear up shingles and cause many other damages to your roof and house. They also cause granular deterioration on asphalt shingles to a point of replacing them as soon as the weather permits.
What to do?
These adverse effects may not be readily noticeable or that there are no telltale signs of such after the storm has passed. Does it mean your roof is well and good? Not quite. Remember, you have spring rain to think about.
Your roof needs reinforcement and preparation for the wet season. Thus, better check out these potential damages after winter:
Check for Leaks
Thankfully, there are plenty of tips to detect the primary source/s of leaks. Firstly, conduct a water test on your roof and see if there’s any leak in the attic or ceiling.
You’d need to go up your attic to check minimal leaking. A presence of minor seepage can escalate into something massive when unaddressed.
Check the Roof
It’s easy to spot a damaged or missing shingles or panels on your roof. Also check the flashing over roof joints, chimneys, vents and dormers.
You can always repair or replace what needs to by yourself, as minor fixes are quite easy. But if the job appears extensive, better leave it to the experts to avoid accidents and injury. You don’t have to DIY everything all the time.
Check for Torn Membranes
These are the most affected material when we talk about abrupt temperature changes. They tend to expand and contract. Winter has gone terribly chilly, so when it nears spring, better check your PVC or EPDM if they’re still intact.
Weathers like this wreaks havoc on every area it chooses. Despite all our effort to prepare, it seems that we’re still caught off-guard by the immensity of nature’s brutal force. Thus, it’s crucial to assess your property before and after winter storms, heavy snow and other inclement weather conditions.
Your roof is one of your primary defense and protection from unwanted elements. If you need to invest in better roofing, bite the bullet because you’re securing your whole family with it.
Abigail Sabijon is the managing editor of Scoopfed.com. Blogging is her response to her call of passion in writing. Before stepping into the blogosphere, she was a university instructor and language teacher.