In the aftermath of the latest winter storms to hit parts of the U.S., now is a good time to make sure your roof is still in one piece. A wintry combination of freezing rain, sleet, snow and ice can slowly, but surely, do a number on your roof, resulting in post-winter damage that could leave it defenseless against springtime wind and rain.
The following offers an in-depth guide on what to look for as you're surveying your roof for the spring season ahead.
Raised and Buckled Shingles
Shingle damage is one of the most common problems you can expect on your roof after a lengthy winter of heavy snowfall. Shingle damage can occur when snow or ice accumulation on a shingle suddenly thaws, causing the shingle material to warp, lift away and even completely separate from the rest of the roof. High winds can also lift shingles from their original moorings.
Broken shingles are relatively easy to find, but a buckled or slightly raised shingle can be a bit tougher to spot. Start by doing a walk-around of your home in search of broken-off shingle pieces or whole shingles, making note of where you found the offending pieces.
Next, you'll need to grab a ladder and climb up on the roof. Start by walking up the slope, carefully eyeing each shingle and making sure they all have a uniform appearance. Take note of each buckled or raised shingle you encounter so you can take the necessary steps to repair the problem.
Water Seepage from Ice Dams
Another problem you may encounter after a long winter is water damage caused by the formation of ice dams. Ice dams can form when heat from within your home rises into the attic space and warms the roof surface above freezing. The snow on top of the roof melts, only to turn back into ice as soon as it reaches the colder edges of the roof. The end result is a dam of solid ice that traps meltwater behind it, allowing it to seep through the roof shingles and into the walls and ceilings of your home.
Ice dams are usually a symptom of inadequate insulation and poor attic ventilation. Improving the exhaust air flow in your home's attic helps push warmer air out and away from the roof, while adding more insulation to your attic can help block heat from rising further within your home. If an ice dam leaves behind water damage, you'll have to carefully inspect and replace any shingles and underlying roofing material that was damaged.
Gutter Damage from Expanding Ice
Constant freeze and thaw cycles can also wreak havoc on your gutters and eaves. Throughout the winter, the gutters can become clogged with ice and the resulting weight of the ice can cause gutters to sag. The freeze and thaw cycle can also loosen the supports holding the gutter in place. Expanding ice can also pull apart metal flashing along roof edges, chimneys and ventilation outlets.
Conduct a walk-around of your home's gutter system and look for signs of sagging. In areas where you see gutter sag, check whether the sag is being caused by a missing or broken hanger. Carefully remove and replace the damaged mounting hardware, making sure to use threaded rods or spikes to hold the hangers in place. Damaged gutter sections should be removed and replaced, preferably with the help of a partner, since entire gutter sections can be difficult to remove on your own.
By repairing the damage caused to your roof throughout the winter, you'll be able to prolong the life of your roof and protect it against further damage from high winds and other springtime weather hazards. If you find that doing the repairs yourself is too overwhelming, consider calling a roofing professional, such as Allen Roofing & Construction Inc.