There are some areas of the country where winter roof damage is rampant due to all of the snow and ice accumulation that occurs and Nebraska is, obviously, NOT immune to massive snowfalls, ice storms, etc.
Believe it or not, but all that snow that piles up on your roof in the winter time is QUITE heavy – so heavy, in fact, that it can cause water damage to your roof and/or interior walls and ceilings or, potentially, cause your roof to collapse (none of which you want to have happen!).
Water leaks from ice and snow are caused by interior heat from the structure – water from melting snow and ice is trapped on the roof, which creates ice dams. Once the ice dams have formed, the water will ‘escape’ via the path of least resistance, which often times means following joists, studs and flashing – none of which were designed to handle that type of moisture. So, with all of that in mind, let’s go through some of the more common ‘winter roof scenarios’ that we see each and every winter so that you can know how to (hopefully) avoid these issues.
Let’s start with gutters, shall we?
If your gutters are filled with ice, they’re a potential disaster (eg, repair) waiting to happen. And, this is compounded by the fact that, once gutters and downspouts are full of ice, they’re virtually impossible to clear out without causing damage to the gutters themselves. So, make sure that your gutters and downspouts are cleaned out on a regular basis to help prevent clogs. In some instances, the entire gutter system may even be removed from the roof to prevent and further ice damage.
Now, if you happen to have a flat roof, you should know that when water in drains freeze, all that water is trapped on the roof with nowhere to go. The trapped water accumulates to levels higher than the roof flashings which, in turn, results in water leaks. Sometimes the only way this problem can be avoided is by removing the downspout and physically opening the drain to create drainage.
So, what about skylights?
Well, skylights that have been covered with ice and snow may cause leaks because their ‘weep holes’ have been covered, which means that internal condensation isn’t allowed to escape and, in turn, causes excess water. Having any snow and ice that accumulates around your skylight(s) removed can alleviate this problem BUT we don’t advise doing this yourself (that’s what roofing professionals are for!). Other things you SHOULDN’T do include attempting to remove snow via a shovel as it can cause serious damage to your shingles. Rock salt is another thought that many individuals have but, this, too, can damage your shingles and, in some cases, void your warranty.
If you notice water marks or leaks inside your home – either on the walls or ceiling – it’s time to call a roofing professional. And, guess what? That would be us! Golden Rule Contractors in Lincoln and Beaver Crossing, Nebraska is here to help you with all your roofing needs – regardless of what the temperature outside (or amount of snow accumulated) may be!