Snow covered roofs may look picturesque, but the powdery white stuff and the ice that forms as the layers add up can cause a variety of problems for homeowners. This presents information on the potential risks the wintry mix of snow and ice can cause and how you can prevent them from happening.
There are a number of ways that snow can damage your roof. The one that worries most homeowners is that the buildup of heavy snow will cause their roof to collapse. But most safety experts agree that it would take four feet of new snow or two feet of crushed snow to weaken a roof’s structure to cause it to collapse. Even if you live in a climate zone which receives heavy amounts of snow it’s not likely to occur as roofs in such areas are usually built to withstand heavier loads. However, if you do live in a colder location with large snowfalls and have an older roof, it would be wise to take some precautions.
How To Prevent Snow Damage To Your Roof
Solution: Don’t wait until winter arrives to have your roof inspected by a licensed Charlotte roofing company who can examine the roof’s condition. A professional can inspect and determine if there are structural concerns or areas for potential leaks so they can be repaired before winter arrives. Remember the saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Another consideration is to purchase a roof rake tool which has an extending pole and enables you to rake or remove fresh snow from your roof safely from the ground. But if you find it’s too heavy to remove and you’re concerned about the weight on your roof, contact a qualified roofer today.
Ice Dams Can Damage Your Roof, Gutters and Home
Icicles may look pretty hanging from the roof and kids may enjoy them, but to a roofing professional they are a sign of potential trouble. They actually indicate an ice dam has formed caused by ice building up along the roof’s eaves. The buildup can cause damage to gutters and water can get underneath the shingles which leads to leaks inside your home.
Ice dams are formed when there are uneven heated areas on the roof. If the attic remains warm, the snow will melt on the center of the roof causing snow to slide and refreeze down at the eaves. The frozen snow turns into ice which will then expand, damaging the shingles, opening cracks and affecting the gutters.
Solution: There are several techniques for stopping snow damage from ice dams. You can remove them, melt the ice or increase the insulation in your attic to prevent the heat from keeping the roof warm.
The dams can be removed in a couple ways. One is to use a roof rake to pull them off the roof. It is a tough job, but it does work. Another method is to purchase some de-icer, which is calcium chloride, and fill some pantyhose with it. The tricky part is to place it on the roof so the end of it hangs on top of the gutter using a tool with a long handle. Once the de-icer is melts the ice dam, the ice in your gutters will be cleared as well. Another method is to attach a heated cable to the edge of your roof to melt the ice.
However, these methods only provide a temporary fix to the problem. For a longer term solution you will have to do something to prevent heat from warming your roof. This can be accomplished by adding more insulation in the attic, installing or replacing the flashing around the base of the chimney and blocking air leaks surrounding cables and vents. It is recommended that you consult a roofing contractor to assess your situation and help you to decide on the best course of action to suit your needs.
Snow Melt Can Flood Your Home
If the weather changes and the temperature goes up, the snow melting can cause some of the worst damage your home by flooding your basement. As the snow melts, the water can work its way into any cracks in the foundation, seeping through your walls and ultimately flooding the basement. The problem will worsen in time as the continuing cycles of melting and refreezing will generate more cracks in the foundation.
Solution: The best way to stop this damage is to ensure there is adequate drainage for the melting snow and that any cracks are sealed. The gutters need to be cleared and adjusted so the water flows towards street drains and away from your home. Another important part of the solution is to check the level of the ground outside the basement. The grading of the soil should slope away from your house, not towards it so the melted snow flows away from the foundation. Also, be sure to shovel snow that is packed around the foundation’s perimeter particularly around any existing windows.
You should do whatever you can to repair and seal your foundation to prevent and reduce the chance of flooding. It is best to use concrete caulk to patch the cracks and to use a sealer on the foundation’s surface for further insurance against water permeation.
How to Keep Your House Safe
At this point you may realize that prevention is the key to keeping your house safe from weather related issues. If you have an older home or live in a location that experiences severe weather changes including heavy snowfalls, you should take precautionary steps to stop problems before they happen. If you’re unsure of what you need to do, you should have a qualified home contractor do a thorough home inspection and provide you with recommendations to avoid potential damages. An experienced home inspector may be able to identify deficiencies you might not even be aware of and make recommendations for addressing them before they can lead to costly repairs. Taking this approach can not only save you money but give you much peace of mind knowing that your home will be safe.
Here in the Charlotte area, winter is coming soon and that means snow. If you need help getting your roof prepped for the Winter season, or, if you need help with an existing roofing project, contact the roofing pros at Southern Star Roofing today!