7 Common Winter Roofing Problems

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home and bring to light damage and issues you didn’t realize you had. This can be particularly true with the roof of your home. Not only is the roof one of the main barriers protecting your home, but it is also the one that gets battered the most by weather, storms, debris, and more. Here are a few common winter roofing problems to keep an eye out for:

1. Ice Dams

Ice dams are ridges of ice that build up along the edges of the roof and gutters. They are caused by poor roof ventilation; specifically, when heat from an attic escapes only through the top part of the roof and not throughout. This leads to snow and ice melting at the top, running down to the roof edge, and freezing there. Ice dams block water from being able to flow into the gutters and drain off the roof.

Not only does this block the gutters and keep water sitting on your roof longer, which can allow it to seep under your shingles, but it also allows the water to freeze, makes the ice dams bigger, and adds extra, unnecessary weight along the edge of the roof. This can add weight to gutters as well as put extra pressure on shingles, which if left unchecked, can cause them to crack, break, buckle, etc.

2. Large Icicles on Gutters

Icicles are classic elements of winter landscapes. They can be pretty to look at, but if you have large icicles on your gutters, you may have bigger issues. Gutters and downspouts are important because they direct water away from your home to prevent damage.

If large icicles are forming on your gutters, it can be caused by ice dams and can also be a sign that your gutters are damaged, outdated, loose, not installed properly, or not directed properly. These are also all signs you need to replace your gutters.

3. Attic Ventilation Issues

Winter roofing problems, like ice dams and large icicles, can also be signs you don’t have proper roof ventilation. Attic ventilation issues can cause these exterior issues, and they can also cause a buildup of moisture inside your attic and lead to big temperature fluctuations in the attic, which can affect temperatures in the rest of the house too.

This is why having good insulation and ventilation in the attic are tips to make your home more energy-efficient. Without those things, you can end up with attic ventilation issues that affect the roof and the rest of your home. During the summer, attic ventilation issues can trap hot air inside the home, make interior rooms warmer, and cause HVAC systems to work harder.

During the winter, these issues can allow cold air to seep into the home, make your home lose a lot of heat, make interior rooms colder, and also make your heating systems work harder. In addition to causing winter roofing problems, poor ventilation in the attic is one of the ways you might be losing money on your energy bills.

4. Leaks Around Flashings

Flashings are the thin metal strips that protect the joints of roofs and keep water from being able to enter these vulnerable points. They can usually be found around chimneys and various types of roof vents. When installed correctly and in good shape, flashings are meant to make joints impervious and provide a weather barrier.

If they are outdated, poorly installed, or damaged, they are no longer offering the same level of protection and this can lead to roof leaks. This is a common cause of roof leaks. And, if they are damaged going into winter, even packed snow could cause them to loosen and cause even more damage. You may even see cracks in and around the chimney, which is a sign of structural damage you should not ignore.

Regularly reviewing your roof and replacing or repairing things as needed are some roof maintenance tips that can help extend the life of your roof and protect your home. Checking the flashings during these reviews and replacing them once they start showing wear and tear can prevent these issues.

5. Too Much Condensation

Condensation occurs when warm air meets a cold surface. Weather can be one of the normal causes of window condensation and the same is true for your roof. However, if there is too much condensation, there can be too much moisture sitting on your roof.

This can cause moisture to build up around and under shingles, which can damage your roof over time, especially during the winter. Proper attic insulation and roof ventilation can help keep condensation within normal levels and keep it from becoming an issue.

6. Damage From Hail or Debris

Roofs can sustain a decent amount of impact, but things hitting your roof can damage it. This is why damage from hail or debris during storms is one of the common winter roofing problems. Depending on the intensity of the impact, where it’s hitting, how often, and more, you could end up with missing, broken, cracked, or damaged shingles.

Preventive maintenance and making sure your roof is in good shape can help keep it reinforced against this damage. If you do end up with damage after a storm, making sure it gets repaired quickly can help your home stay protected as you weather the winter season.

7. Damage From Pests

A warm covered space during the winter is tempting for insects, rodents, and other animals. If you have any existing damage or gaps in your roof, these are weak points where animals can get in. They may even be able to scratch, gnaw, and damage weak areas further to make a space big enough for them to get in.

Scratching, skittering, squawking, thumping, and more are indicators that you may have a pest problem and are all house sounds you should never ignore. Inspecting your roof regularly for potential entry points and making necessary repairs to seal them up can help prevent this.

Repair or Replace Your Roof With Zephyr Thomas

Regular maintenance and repair are some ways to prevent winter roof & gutter damage. As you take care of your home, these are just a few common winter roofing problems to watch out for. If you see any of them, there may be an issue with your gutters, attic, or roof that needs to be taken care of.

Whether you need new gutters or roof repair or replacement, contact Zephyr Thomas at 717-399-4708 to schedule your free estimate. We can help you maintain and improve your home!

Check out the time-lapse video below to see the Zephyr Thomas team replacing a roof for this homeowner!