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How Ice and Snow Impact Your Roof

December 19, 2018

During the cold winter months the weight of snow and ice can have a direct effect on the condition and structure of your roof. It is important for homeowners to fully understand the signs of weather damage, to recognize these signs, and to take necessary steps to repair your roof if it becomes damaged from severe weather.

Here are a few things to be aware of in cold weather…

  • Ice Dams

If there is enough ice accumulating on the roof, it can form ice dams. This is caused by ice and snow melting, flowing down the roof and the freezing right at the edge of the roof. Ice dams can cause major gutter damage and may even tear the flashing off the roof. 

  • Freeze and Thaw

Due to the accumulation of snow and ice, cracks can become present. When water seeps into even the tiniest cracks, this could pose a major issue for your roof. Not only can this cause leaks into your home, but the cracks can become much more prominent.  However, if the water doesn’t leak and it freezes, the crack can expand, causing an even bigger issue. 

  • Gutter damage

Gutters clogged with leaves, dirt or other debris encourage the formation of icicles when air temperatures are below freezing, but sunshine warms the exterior surfaces of your home. Icicles can be extremely heavy and may result in damage to your gutters and the roof itself. 

  • Collapse of the structure

Although not a common scenario in homes which have been built to code, heavy snowfall does have the potential to overburden structural components and can cause building collapse if not promptly removed. Be aware, however, that improper techniques for snow removal are not only potentially dangerous but may inadvertently cause damage to the roof itself. Snow shovels have a tendency to damage shingles and chemicals such as calcium chloride or rock salt applied to melt snow or ice may actually void the warranty of your roof.

  • Damage from tree branches

The extra weight from snow and ice has the potential to pull tree limbs down into contact with your roof, causing damage to the shingles. If a limb happens to break and land on your roof, structural damage could also occur.

  • Leakage around skylights

Weep holes surrounding skylights are designed to release interior condensation yet often become blocked from snow or ice. Trapped condensation will then begin to leak into your home and can cause water damage on structural components and ceilings.


Preventative Maintenance is Key to Avoiding Costly Damage

Preventative maintenance, including regular roofing inspections, cleaning of gutters and snow removal when necessary are all key to avoiding costly repairs with your roof, gutters, ceilings and more.

Replacing worn shingles before winter storms arrive, trimming tree limbs and cleaning out the gutters are inexpensive procedures which can be completed quickly and easily.

Regular roof and gutter inspections along with proper maintenance go a long way towards preventing problems. Contact RSG for help this winter. We can give you peace of mind that comes from knowing that the job has been done right.

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