How Winter Storms Can Wreak Havoc on Your Roof

Overhead view of a snow covered neighborhood

Your roof might not cross your mind often, but it stands up to a lot. Heavy rain and other weather conditions can wreak havoc on your roof year-round. It’s crucial to keep an eye on your roof, especially during the winter months. Snow and ice storms are so harmful because they combine the problems caused by extreme temperatures with the potential for water damage. Repair for a storm-damaged roof needs to happen as soon as possible so you and your family can stay safe and warm.

Below are some of the most common forms of winter storm damage on roofs:

Thermal Shock

One of the reasons winter storm damage on roofs is so devastating is that it creates fluctuating temperature conditions. As your roof undergoes rapid freezing and melting in extreme winter weather, it expands and contracts, causing tension, which weakens your roof’s structural integrity.

Roof Collapse

Snow is heavy, and the more it piles up, the more weight your roof has to bear. In the best case, you’re putting unnecessary stress on the surface of your roof, and in the worst case, your entire roof could collapse. The good news is that roof collapse rarely just happens out of the blue. These are some red flags that mean it’s time to evacuate your home and call the professionals before your roof collapses:

  • Cracks in your roof, masonry, or walls
  • Sagging ceilings
  • Severe or excessive leaking
  • Creaking or popping sounds
  • Broken, rotting, or warped structural beams

As a general rule, a structurally damaged roof is an unsafe roof to be underneath, especially during snow and ice storms. If you are unsure, play it safe and contact a roofing company ASAP.

Ice Dams

Snow melts from the ground up, which means that you can still have a solid layer of ice or snow that has running water underneath. While this cool fact might benefit ice fishermen, it spells trouble for your gutters during winter storms. Frozen gutter blockages that have melting ice and running water underneath are called “ice dams” and can end up causing your gutters to freeze, crack, or fall off during winter storms. Since your gutters are attached to your roof, ice dams can do serious harm to not just your gutters but your entire house. It might be more convenient to get your guttering system removed entirely during the winter if ice dams are causing damage to your roofing.

Wind Damage

Winter storms often send high winds whipping through your town — and right across your roof. Your shingles, roof tiles, and more are at risk of being ripped off or compromised due to these winds. Winter winds also propel tree branches and debris at high speeds, which is another common form of winter storm damage on roofs.

Water Damage

Snow may look beautiful blanketing the streets and buildings, but when it melts, it can be a wet nuisance for your home. A lot of the worst winter storm damage on roofs happens over time as water seeps into your home’s walls, joints, and support beams, threatening their stability and shortening their lifespan. Your heating and cooling bills might also go through the roof (pun fully intended!) long after the snow is gone for the year — moisture buildup in your attic can cause insulation problems.

Act Now, Relax Later

Don’t wait for the brutal cold to set in and the flakes to start flying to take care of your roof. Clean out your gutters so they can stay clear, make sure your home insurance is up to date so you can submit an insurance claim in case of winter storm property damage, and schedule annual maintenance. Taking care of your roof, as well as having the professionals conduct routine roof inspections, is a necessity if you want to get the most value and comfort possible out of your home.

Damage to your roof is a very serious form of damage to your home. While we can’t prevent ice and snow from landing on your roof, we can make sure you’re protected the next time it does. Allabaugh Construction performs a variety of services, including New Jersey roofing maintenance; we’re a full-service home improvement company and ready and willing to help you year-round. Contact us today before the winter weather worsens!