Winter Roof Damage: How to Recognize and Prevent It

December 17, 2014 11:36 am

ice on roof

Oklahoma is prone to extreme winter weather conditions including ice and snow, and sometimes a furious combination of both. It is always important to inspect your roof after a heavy storm, especially in freezing temperatures. You can also take some steps to prevent roof damage before the deep winter sets in.

After an ice storm, what are some signs to identify issues with my roof?

Keep an eye out for leaks in the ceiling. This is most certainly the consequence of a roofing vulnerability. When ice and snow pile on top of your roof, especially in the eaves and valleys, it can cause a phenomenon known as “ice damming.” This effect forces water under the shingles, which leads to rotting and leaks.

You should also keep an eye out for distorted shingles. This happens after water refreezes under the shingles and breaks/damages them. This can cause energy efficiency issues, leaks, and other types of damage due to vulnerability. This can also cause lifted nails on your roof. The expansion and contraction of the decking and shingles can sometimes loosen nails, which can eventually cause your shingles to fall or break.

Another important post-storm check is to evaluate your gutters. Do your best to keep snow and ice from packing or freezing inside of gutters. When your gutters become too full, they will overflow into the soffit, which is the area that protects under side of your roof. Once the soffit is broken, leaks can occur in your walls, ceilings, windows; all of which are very expensive to repair.

What are some ways I can prevent roof damage from ice and snow?

The best way to prevent ice and water damage is to have a pre-winter check up by your local certified roofing company. A few ways a roofer can help you prevent ice and snow damage is to check your roof’s pipe flashing, rubber gaskets and vents on your roof for deterioration or cracks. Also, having a roofer install a chimney cricket with flashing can prevent rot from ice/snow buildup behind your chimney.

One thing to avoid: never put trash bags over your home’s vents or wind turbans! Covering these up actually can cause mold issues by trapping in moisture in your attic. These vents need to be able to breathe, even in the winter. You will not save heat or energy by covering your vents, and in fact, it can do just the opposite.