Snow may be pretty, but it can come with some potentially damaging and costly consequences. If you’re worried about these effects, the best thing you can do is understand the problems and prepare for them.
Icicles present a pointy problem. Because of freezing and refreezing, the snow that sits on top of the roof will melt and refreeze as it drips off. Water is heavy in any form, so when icicles start forming, they can weigh down your roof and gutters. It’s best to clean out your gutters so water doesn’t get stuck in them.
Since they’re so sharp, too, icicles can fall and hurt people and pets or damage property. Hiring professionals to clean off your roof can help. When there’s no snow to melt and refreeze into ice, icicles form less often.
Winter can be unpredictable. Sometimes a snowstorm comes out of nowhere and can bury you in. The weight of the snow on the roof is something you’ll want to prepare for. Depending on how much snow falls, roofs can withstand a lot of pressure. However, houses that are unprepared to support all that weight may risk damage or collapse if they’re not up-to-code and in good condition.
If the snow doesn’t melt and stays for a while, signs of damage may present themselves. Difficulty opening and closing doors and windows may signal too much snow on the roof. Also look out for whether the gutters are bending, as they usually give way first.
Clearing the snow off the roof is the best way to prevent this. And while there are safe ways to manage a ladder and do it yourself, it is much safer to hire a professional. Roofers and contractors will have protective equipment, access to scaffolding and other scaling tools, and strict safety guidelines that help them navigate heights in sub-optimal conditions.
Another problem that comes with the ice and snow is ice dams. These occur when a higher point on the roof has a temperature above 32° Fahrenheit, but a lower point is still below freezing.
Snow melts and trickles down the roof and then refreezes. This allows ice to get under the shingles and cause structural damage, cracks and mold. You can help reduce this with attic ventilation systems, better insulation and by working to seal any leaks.
When winter arrives, so do heating bills. If there are any cracks or other types of damage in your roof’s foundation, the heat can escape and cause you to waste money.
Since hot air rises instead of staying inside and warming the house, the heat will escape through the roof. You’ll want to check inside and out for what needs repairs.
Condensation is something else that rises with heat. When the warm air hits the cold ceiling below the roof, condensation forms. This can cause mold and mildew, which damages your home’s structure. A vapor retarder or ventilation system can help improve air quality and flow.
Winds tend to be worse in winter. This, on top of the snow, can badly damage your roof. If shingles aren’t secure, wind can rip them right off.
Branches and leaves get swept up in the wind, too. These can clog your gutters and lead to other issues on this list. Once again, inspections help ensure your roof is safe and up to standards.
Preventative Measures for Winter Roof Care
Snow buildup on the roof causes or worsens all these issues. This shows the importance of hiring professionals to remove the snow from your roof. Be sure to also hire inspectors to check your roofing and overall house structure before winter hits.
You want to fix your roofing now instead of facing even worse consequences down the road. When you protect your home against winter’s harsh conditions, you’ll have time to sit back, relax and enjoy the snow.
About The Author: Holly Welles is a home & garden writer. She shares more advice on creating beauty in your home on her own blog, The Estate Update, and on Twitter.
Photos by Sindre Strøm from Pexels & Amy Gabbert from Pexels
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