The longevity of a roof endures for several decades, and some roofing materials last for 50 years. However, proper maintenance and regular inspections are necessary to find any issues with shingles, flashing, and gutters that impact the structural integrity of the roof and its overall longevity.
Most homeowners don't realize that winter weather wreaks havoc on their roofs. Snow, ice, rain, and leaves create weak points in roofing that can lead to leaks or other issues. Discover five ways winter weather ices out the durability of your roof.
Table of Contents:
Wind Damage to Roof
An Icy Mess: How to Check for Roof Damage after Ice Storm
What is an Ice Dam?
The Neverending Worry of Water Damage
What to do if you Discover Damage
Winter Roof Checklist
Winter Roofing Problems FAQ
Ice, wind, snow, and rain all impact a roof's longevity if owners fail to maintain their roof. Learn how winter weather conditions can significantly decrease the life of a roof and how to spot the signs of damage and prevent winter weather roof havoc!
Blowing Money: Roof Damage from Wind
Strong, frigid, blustery winds make winter miserable. Bundling up is the only way to stay protected against the wintery elements. Yet, those winter winds also make roofs miserable. Heavy winds damage roofs by loosening shingles or soffits. As materials loosen, leaves, debris, and moisture can seep into the roof structure.
The Importance of Soffits
Some homeowners incorrectly assume that soffits serve merely an aesthetic purpose. Do not neglect loose or missing soffits. These crucial materials protect the underside of roofs and keep the cold winter weather from seeping into the attic. In addition, missing soffits create an opening for moisture to enter the roof and cause rot or mold. Those missing pieces also decrease the curb appeal of the home. When the wind blows away soffits, replace them immediately. Installing a few missing pieces of soffit is much more affordable than managing the damage caused by their absence.
Another reason to always replace missing soffits? Animals like squirrels, raccoons, mice, and opossums use the open space to enter the attic and walls. No homeowner wants wildlife squatters!
Missing Shingles Create a Vulnerable Roof
Missing shingles can lead to more immediate damage. Shingles protect the top of the roof, which takes the brunt of all the winter elements. A missing shingle creates a weak point in the roof. Ignoring one missing shingle leads to far greater damage than most homeowners realize.
That one weak point collects moisture, ice, debris, and perhaps leaves. Moisture combined with debris leads to decomposition, breaking down the roof. The result? Leaks, rot, mold, or mildew. A single missing shingle opens up problems that cost much more than simply replacing the shingle!
Homeowners should schedule regular inspections with a roofing contractor to check the roof for missing shingles and soffits. This inspection helps homeowners take action to repair small issues before they transform into major roof damage. We recommend an inspection to be completed in the spring, fall, and winter.
How to Protect a Roof from Wind Damage
The best way to protect a roof from wind damage is to maintain the roof. Wind loosens both soffits and shingles, which impacts the integrity and protective function of the roof. Homeowners should schedule a quarterly roof inspection to assess shingles and soffits.
In extreme weather conditions, protecting the roof is difficult. Homeowners need to know their roofs can withstand these conditions. Again, proactive maintenance is the best protection for the roof and the home.
An Icy Mess: How to Check for Roof Damage after a Winter Weather Storm
Homeowners understand that hail damage to roofs can lead to an expensive roof repair or require a full replacement. Hail storms occur during severe weather, typically in the spring. The National Weather Service reports that 73% of Missouri and Illinois hail storms occur in spring.
Winter ice storms can be just as destructive as those balls of hail. Winter ice storms include freezing rain and sleet. This frozen precipitation leaves ice sheets on rooftops, streets, and every other exposed surface. During major ice storms, a thick layer of ice builds up on surfaces, adding significant weight and, eventually, melting into a slushy pool of water.
The weight of ice puts pressure on the roof. In some winter storms, the ice also is covered in heavy snow. The snow and ice combination can test the endurance of a roof; if the roofing materials are older, significant snow and ice could lead to a collapsed roof.
Most roofs withstand the pressure and weight of the ice and snow, and eventually, the sun melts the snow and ice, and the moisture drips down the roof. Homeowners who have neglected their roofs and missed a professional maintenance checkup might not know that areas of their roofs are vulnerable to this excess water. If soffits or shingles are missing, moisture can seep into the roof and cause mold, rot, or other issues. Homeowners might even notice leaks!
Missouri weather is unpredictable in winter. Some winters are mild and lack much snowfall.
Other years are marked by heavy snow and ice. Always schedule a roof maintenance inspection in the fall to catch any problems that could compromise the roof's integrity when extreme winter weather hits the area.
What is an Ice Dam?
Ice dams cause serious damage to roofs because they block water flow and stop snow and precipitation from draining off rooftops. Ice dams typically occur behind chimneys and where the roof valleys meet the gutter. When ice on the roof starts to melt, it can cause a dam that forces water under shingles, damaging your roof.
Ice dams are extremely problematic because the pooled water on the roof can cause leaks, damaging walls and ceilings. Homeowners need to be vigilant about inspecting the base of their roofs during winter to locate any potential ice dams.
Preventing Ice Dams
This Old House offers several recommendations for preventing ice dams. Heated cables can be used to keep the roof's surface warm enough and mitigate the formation of dams. The site explains that other snow and ice melters also can help prevent the dams.
Removing Ice Dams
Need to remove an ice dam? Use calcium chloride tablets to melt the ice. Do not use any melting agent that includes standard salt, which comprises the structural integrity of shingle materials.
The Neverending Worry of Water Damage to the Roof
All seasons share one roof damage commonality–precipitation. Snow, rain, and sleet impact the roof. If homeowners do not properly maintain the roof materials and structure, moisture creeps beneath shingles and into crevices, causing leaks, mold, mildew, and damage.
Cleaning the gutters is an important maintenance habit that helps increase the roof's longevity. Gutters should be cleaned twice per year, before spring and fall. These regular clean-outs ensure debris, gunk, and leaves do not accumulate and clog the gutters.
Schedule a quarterly roof inspection to uncover any potential issues. Replacing a loose soffit or a missing shingle is much more affordable than replacing the entire roof!
What To Do If You Discover Damage
Discovering damages to your roof can be a stressful situation, especially after a storm. If you find missing shingles, contact Eureka Contracting & Roofing for assistance. Our team is ready to respond and complete any emergency repairs necessary to safeguard the interior of your home or building. It's crucial to prioritize safety—avoid climbing ladders or attempting DIY fixes on your roof. Instead, entrust the inspection and repairs to trained professionals. Before committing to a contract hastily presented at your door, consider giving us a call. As a Veteran-owned local company established in 2012, our knowledgeable staff is well-versed in residential and commercial roofs. We have extensive experience collaborating with insurance companies, ensuring a smooth process for our clients.
When it comes to roof inspections, we offer two convenient options. Opt for a complimentary annual inspection or choose our quarterly inspection plan for a nominal fee. With quarterly inspections in spring, early fall, and early winter, our team will thoroughly examine your roof, address debris behind the chimney, unclog downspouts, and conduct a comprehensive assessment. Minor repairs, up to $100 in value, are included in this service. Secure the longevity of your roof by calling Eureka Contracting & Roofing for professional inspections and reliable repairs.
Follow This Winter Roof Checklist
It’s never too late to prepare and protect the roof and home from winter weather. Take action now and follow this winter roof checklist:
Schedule a maintenance inspection
Purchase calcium carbonate (to remove ice dams)
Clean the gutters and inspect them for cracks
Walk around the house and check for missing soffits
Purchase a snow roof rake (to remove heavy snow)
Trim trees near the roof
Winter Roofing Problems FAQ
Can you replace a roof in winter?
If the roof needs to be replaced, contact Eureka Contracting and Roofing to schedule a consultation.
Is it good or bad to have a layer of snow on your roof in winter?
Slow melting snow on the roof is indicative of adequate attic insulation. However, homeowners who need to clear heavy snow from their roofs should use a roof rake.
Can a roof be fixed in the winter?
Always schedule an appointment for roof issues. Eureka Contracting and Roofing can and will work with you to repair your roof any time of the year.
What is the best roofing for winter?
Every roofing material has a unique benefit. Both slate and metal roofing provide the best protection and durability in harsh winter climates. However, these materials are more expensive.
What is the best roof for heavy snow?
Slate is the most durable roofing material for areas that experience heavy snow.
Schedule a FREE Roof Inspection with Eureka Contracting & Roofing
Roof damage caused by falling leaves and debris must be repaired to hasten further roof damage. Schedule a consultation with Eureka Contracting and Roofing. Contact us today and receive a free quote and recommendations for repairs or a new roof!
Eureka Contracting & Roofing has over 30 years of experience in the construction and insurance industry. We offer free one-on-one consultations to discuss your goals, concerns, and ideas and will provide a free roof evaluation with your best interest in mind. Call 636-938-ROOF or click www.eurekacontracting.com to learn more and schedule your free roof inspection.
About the Author:
Eureka Contracting & Roofing is a top-rated, Veteran-owned, fully licensed, and insured roofing business in Eureka, Missouri. By putting 30 years of experience to work, we ensure that our residential and commercial customer's roofs, gutters, shingles, soffits, and siding are expertly installed, maintained, repaired, or replaced. We make properties better– the proof is in the roof!