Love it or hate it, winter is on the way. If you live in Grand Rapids or any other place in Michigan, there’s no avoiding the cold and snowy months ahead.
Winter means a lot of things, including your roof’s durability and quality, which is about to be tested. Your roof can take a beating once the snow and ice fly and several issues can arise. Let’s take a look at some of the most common winter roofing problems.
The accumulation of water and ice under your roof’s shingles may lead to ice dams. The dams form due to the differing temperatures at the upper and lower areas of your roof – the upper areas are above freezing while the lower areas are below freezing.
Melting snow from the higher regions of your roof flow down and freeze on the colder, lower areas – including your gutters – to create an ice dam. The water backs up and accumulates behind the dam and may cause leaks through cracks and joints of your home’s exterior and damage its interior.
While it may be impossible to avoid ice dams, you can minimize their damage by having a quality attic ventilation system and proper insulation.
Icicles often freeze in incredible shapes and patterns worthy of our admiration and awe. But they also pose a danger to anyone walking underneath them. You should take caution by keeping a safe perimeter around your home or business.
Icicles form during the warming and cooling process which occurs during winter days and evenings. They can become heavy enough to damage your gutters and roof and may also cause ice dams to form.
The best way to prevent icicles from forming is to keep your gutters clean to allow excess water to travel through your downspouts without obstruction.
Damage Caused by Wind & Tree Limbs
A Michigan winter often brings with it high winds which can chill a person right down to their bones. The force of those winds may pull up or peel back your roof’s shingles, damage its flashing, and even force moisture into the roof vents that can potentially cause damage to your home’s interior.
Wind also poses a hazard if you have trees growing close to your home and roof. Tree limbs brushing against your roof can damage shingles and pull them up enough so moisture accumulates underneath them. Meanwhile, heavier tree limbs falling from a distance may carry enough force to put holes in roofing materials.
An easy, efficient way to avoid winter wind and tree limb issues is to keep all of your trees trimmed during the summer and autumn. Pay particular attention to any limbs within 6-feet of your roof.
Another common winter roofing problem is condensation which occurs when your home’s warmer interior air comes into contact with the colder underside of a roof.
While condensation may not seem like a significant problem and often goes unnoticed by homeowners, it can lead to a variety of roofing issues including leaks. It can also cause mold and mildew to form which, in turn, can pose a variety of health risks to you and your family, including respiratory problems.
Your best defense against winter condensation is proper ventilation because a quality ventilation system allows for maximum air floor while reducing the amount of warm air that connects with the colder areas of your roof.
Winter weather may also damage your roof’s flashing and cause your roof to leak. Flashing consists of thin strips of metal, such as aluminum or stainless steel, – which help prevent water from getting underneath your shingles.
Flashing is particularly important for protecting those areas of your roof where the roof meets a wall, where a valley forms when two roof slopes meet, areas with protrusions caused by vents and other objects, and also roof edges such as eaves.
Winter storms can cause flashing to pull away from the roof and lead to water leaks. Leaks are more likely to form when the weather begins to warm and there’s a layer of snow on the roof.
It’s a good idea to check your flashing for signs of leakage after every storm. Call a professional roofing company if repairs are needed or if it’s time to install new installation.
Moore and Sons Roofing of Grand Rapids is a quality, trusted source you can turn to when your roof is damaged or when you need to get it ready for Michigan’s harsh winters. Our dependable team is here to help.