We’re going to kick off this 4-part “How Weather Affects My Roof” series with our current cold season. Sure, climate and bad weather can do a number on your roof at any time, but winter can be especially brutal. In this article, we’re going to discuss the dangers winter weather can bring to your roof.
Cold Weather and Wind
Wind doesn’t take a break during the winter months. In fact, some gusts can rival hurricane winds. Even if your asphalt shingles aren’t already damaged, one good gust of wind on your freshly frozen or snow-covered roof could do some damage.
Wind damage is also increasingly likely when sleet or hail occurs, as those small pieces of ice can build up or weaken your shingles when impacting your roof.
Missing or broken shingles leads to moisture and ice buildup on your decking, which means you’ll likely get water and moisture in your attic. Which can lead to mold, mildew, and damaged sheetrock to name a few things. Nobody wants those headaches!
All Things Water
We’re talking rain, sleet, snow, hail, ice, etc. When they work in tandem, their sole objective is destroying your roof. The compounded dangers from each include the following:
Water: Water will freeze in gutters and prevent drainage off your roof. If your area gets a weather change and it starts to rain on top of thawing snow or ice, water may build up under your roofing material, causing your decking to rot or split.
Snow: One of the things people take for granted is the sheer weight of snow. If you live in an area that doesn’t often get snow, your roof may not have the best pitch to keep snow from easily building up. Fresh snow can add up to 20 pounds of weight per cubic foot on your roof. If that snow melts and freezes, that weight can increase to 60 pounds! If your roof is older, that weight may be too much for your roof to bear, and you may risk collapse.
Some homeowners try to clear snow from their roof on their own by using objects like shovels to knock the snow off, or chemicals like rock salt or calcium chloride to melt the snow, not knowing they’re likely doing more harm than good. Homeowners might not realize that this could void any warranties your roof may have.
Ice: We kind of hinted at the issues ice can bring to your roof, but one big one you’ll have to be mindful of is ice damming. This happens when ice melts and water runs down the length of your roof and begins to either freeze on the edges of your roof or in your gutters. That ice builds up and BAM – you now have a dam of ice preventing runoff from your roof or your gutters from draining. Where does all that water go? Under your shingles and into your attic.
Ice damming can also cause large icicles to form, which the weight of can damage your shingles, flashing, gutters, or even you and yours. Ice is just bad news all the way around. So do what you can prior to big freezes or a day of wildly-swinging temperatures to make sure your gutters are clean and clear of debris.
While not necessarily common, this is something that many homeowners don’t consider when colder months roll through.
Thermal shock occurs when you have freezing temperatures overnight followed immediately by a milder daytime temperature. These temperature extremes, over time, will cause your roofing materials to contract and expand rapidly until those materials start to come apart — and, well, we know what inevitably comes next…
The Effects of Cold Weather on my Roof
If you’re living in an area that is susceptible to these kinds of conditions, you’re going to want to make sure your roof is squared away before cold weather rolls through, which could include getting a roof inspection.
If you’re unsure of the age or condition of your roof, contact an experienced, licensed professional contractor like Buildpro. We offer some of the best warranties in the business and have the certifications to boot.
Call us or fill out this form today and we’ll give you a free, no-obligation consultation to give you the best look into your roof’s condition.