Common Threats to Your Roof in the Winter
Winter is in full swing here in the Pacific Northwest, which means a lot of rain, freezing temperatures, and possibly even snow. Unfortunately, when water, ice, and snow accumulates, it can damage your roof and gutters. If you ever find yourself with a damaged or leaking roof that needs repair, contact your local Lake Oswego roofing contractor for expert service and advice.
The best way to avoid inclement weather conditions from affecting your roof is to take precautionary measures. Roofers in Oregon are experts in helping homeowners prepare their roofs for the wet winter weather. However, if you are unsure if your home is winter-ready, the following guide will help you know what to look out for.
1. Flashing Leaks
Roof flashing is an essential part of the roof that keeps it from leaking. It is typically made of galvanized steel and is used as a sealer around the parts of the roof that are most susceptible to water leakage. Such areas usually include the chimney, skylights, ventilation fans, and the roof perimeter. Over time, flashing can wear down and tends to be one of the most common causes of leaks in the winter.
How Do Flashing Leaks Occur?
If the flashing was not installed by a professional roofing contractor, leakage can occur from poor installation and improper sealing techniques. However, flashing leaks more commonly occur from inclement weather, and wear and tear over time. An excess of rain and snow will cause flashing to corrode more quickly, and high winds can pull the flashing up, exposing the underlying structure of the roof. When damage like this occurs, any water that collects on the roof will leak down into the attic.
How to Prevent Flashing Leaks
Before winter hits, you should have your roof inspected by a professional roofing company. They will be able to properly inspect your roof and know what to look out for and can more efficiently repair any areas that show signs of deterioration or damage. If the bad weather has already hit and you start experiencing a leak, your best bet is still to call an expert. Trying to climb your roof is dangerous as is, let alone in the cold and wet winter conditions.
2. Ice Dams
Ice dams occur when freezing rain and snow melts and then refreezes as it slides down towards the edge of the roof. When the ice builds up, it essentially creates a dam, blocking further rain and snow from sliding off of the roof. Over time, the dam or wall of ice becomes so large that it takes a long time to melt. If the rest of the melting snow and ice on the roof has nowhere to slide off, it will begin puddling and leaking through the roof.
Depending on the severity of the situation and the amount of water on the roof, further damage to the home can occur. If there are excessive amounts of water it could not only leak through the roof into the attic, but can begin entering the home and dagame the ceiling, walls, and insulation as well. When water leaks into the home and is left unattended, the moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Why Do Ice Dams Occur?
An imbalance of surface temperatures on the roof is most often the cause of ice dams. Higher areas of the roof tend to warm up more quickly as they are more exposed to the sun. When the higher areas heat up, the snow and ice melts and then refreezes once it hits the colder lower portions of the roof. Uneven surface roof temperatures can also happen from warmer air inside the home escaping through the attic.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
If you are experiencing ice dams on your roof the first thing you should look into is the insulation in your ceiling and attic. If there is little to no insulation, or if there are any obvious areas where the air is escaping, this is likely the cause of your ice dams. If your home is airtight and you are still experiencing ice dams, it is probably from the sun warming the higher area of your roof more than the lower portions. In this case, you will need to keep an eye on the edges of your roof. If it looks like ice is beginning to build up, you may need to contact a roofing contractor for their expert advice on how to handle the situation. Attempting to scrape or knock the ice off yourself will not only damage the roof but could also lead to personal injury from the falling ice.
3. Icicles on the Gutters
Icicles might look attractive hanging from your roof, but they are actually very dangerous and damaging. In small amounts, icicles aren’t a huge issue and are not a cause for concern. However, if left to grow they can cause injury when falling and damage the gutters from their weight. Icicles also act similarly to ice dams in that they block rain and melting snow from properly flowing off the roof.
What Causes Icicles to Form on Gutters?
When melting snow and ice moves down the roof, it refreezes as it drips off of the gutters forming icicles. If you notice that large icicles are starting to form and accumulate, you should not ignore them. They are likely forming because the gutters are backed up, or can also be a result of ice dams. when gutters become weighed down from icicles they can become bent and will sometimes start to tear away from the roof.
How to Prevent Icicles
If your icicles are forming as a result of ice dams, you will need to address that issue first. When melting snow on the roof is the cause, buying a snow rake and sweeping the snow off of the roof will help. However, gutters being backed up are often the main culprit. if this is the case, you may have to wait until the weather warms to clear them out. In the meantime, you can knock the icicles off with a broom or a shovel. Just be sure you don’t scrape against the gutters or the roof as this may cause damage.
How Can Armor Roofing & Exteriors Help?
For over 25 years, the roofing contractors at Armor Roofing & Exteriors have served the Lake Oswego area with quality workmanship and professionalism. We guarantee an unrivaled degree of experience and customer service that you won’t find anywhere else. Call us today for all of your winter roofing needs!