Common Winter Roofing Hazards & How to Prevent Them

Common Winter Roofing Hazards & How to Prevent Them

Picture of ice dam.

Roofs are often associated with the concepts of shelter and safety, and for good reason. With top-notch roofing contractors like Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors on your side, your roof will hold up against the worst weather Minnesota can throw at it.

Every part of your roof, from your fascia and soffit to your shingles, functions in tandem to keep your family safe, warm, and content, no matter what goes down above your heads. The smart homeowner knows that a little pre-winter care can mean the difference between a happy, healthy family and one that suffers the ill effects of raggedy roofing.

Let’s get into some of the main threats to your roof in the winter and discuss how you can prevent these risks.

Water Damage: A Constant Winter Risk

Given that winters in Minnesota can be harsh and involve a lot of major storms, it’s no surprise that all kinds of water damage are a risk. When you suspect any type of water damage, it’s important to reach out to a roofing contractor right away to protect your rooftop and the rest of your home.

Some common issues include water leaks on the ceiling or mold and mildew. A winter storm with high winds and intense snow can crack tiles or break shingles, so after storm damage, be sure to assess for any water leaks.

You should look out for signs of water damage, such as rust colored spots on the ceiling or water actually leaking directly into the house. If these issues aren’t addressed, you could wind up with more costly repairs down the line.

Ice Dams

You’ll want to clean out your gutter system periodically in order to prevent what’s called an ice dam from setting up shop on your roof. Formed by a complex interaction of melting snow and a narrow threshold of temperatures, these nasty nuisances can result in quite the puddle of standing water.

While water on its own isn’t a threat to your roof (it stands out in the rain all the time, after all), standing water is, as your roofing is designed to shed it. Why else do you have gutter systems and a sloping roof profile?

When water gets under your shingles and flows down into your home, it’s more than a cosmetic issue. Sure, you can wind up with some nasty water stains, but those are small potatoes compared to the potential for electrical fires and mold. The former of which is obviously dangerous, but don’t shortchange fungi! They can cause quite significant health issues if left unchecked.

Take care of your roof and you’ll take care of your family. Remove ice dams as soon as you notice them and opt for roof repair when needed.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

For ice dams, prevention is mainly a matter of improving insulation. Ice dams occur when poor insulation causes ice to freeze and thaw in a cycle. So, upgrading the insulation in your roof can deter ice dams.

Contact a home exterior expert to have them assess the state of your roofing system’s insulation. And, if you do get an ice dam on your roof, it’s safest and most effective to let a roofing contractor handle the problem.

Wet Insulation

Are your energy bills soaring? Is your family finding it hard to stay warm? Wet insulation could be the culprit.

While a leaky roof isn’t the only cause of wet insulation (we talk more about the nuances of roof ventilation here), it can very well be one.

Regardless, wet insulation should never be ignored, as it’s a perfect area for mold to begin to grow – a certifiable health hazard, if we ever saw one.

It also could mean that moisture is accumulating in your attic at a much larger scale, rotting your roof from the inside-out.

How to Prevent Wet Insulation

Wet insulation can be caused by many factors. Storm damage can create cracked tiles and shingles, and wear and tear over time could cause materials to break down and let in more water.

So, the best way to know if your roof has leaks is to get annual roofing inspections. If it’s been a while since your roof has been looked at, it is probably a good time to get an assessment before winter weather gets worse.

Collapsed Roofs

If your roofing is well-maintained and well-installed, you absolutely do not need to worry about the potential disaster of collapse. If it isn’t, however, you’ll need to get a roofing pro to your home ASAP to ensure you’re not at risk.

Caused by anything from excessive snow load to structural damage from rot, a collapsed roof poses an immediate health hazard to not just your family, but to anyone who enters your home.

We don’t think we need to explain why.

How to Prevent Collapsed Roofs

If you notice any sagging on your rooftop, it’s time to act immediately before it caves in. However, the good news is that collapsed roofs aren’t that common of a problem and they are very avoidable.

With routine maintenance and checking your roof for major issues, even every year or so, you’ll be able to avoid this major roofing issue.

More Ways to Prevent Roofing Hazards in the Winter

Despite the apparent infallibility of your roof, it’s important to note that even the most well-built structure can become hazardous to your family’s health and wellbeing under the correct circumstances.

Just like any part of your home, roofs require periodic care and tending to in order to keep looking and performing at their best, especially as winter approaches.

Clean Your Gutter System Regularly

A must-do for roofs of any type, especially in Minnesota, as it helps prevent the winter menaces that are ice dams (more on this roofing hazard later).

Luckily, it’s quite a simple chore that’s easy to check off your before-winter list, especially if you have seamless gutters, whether it be by doing it yourself or hiring someone else.

Remove Excessive Snow

Minnesota is, of course, well-known for its wintertime precipitation levels. Buildings (and roofs) are thus made to compensate.

However, under specific weather conditions, even the sturdiest roof will begin to flag, so it’s best to hire a snow removal company to get up there if you’re at all concerned.

Mind Your Shingles

A lack of shingles in any location severely compromises the integrity of your roof. Anything from storms to simple wear-and-tear can mean the downfall of the shoddiest roof—the smartest choice of action to combat this hazard is to ensure your roof is completed by any number of reputable roofing companies in the first place.

Roof repair can also help you compensate if this is, unfortunately, not a possibility.

Ensure Good Insulation

So many winter roofing issues are caused by poor insulation. So, to prevent ice dams and water-logged attics, reach out to a roofing professional who can assess the status of your entire roofing system.

It might be time to upgrade the roof or at least the insulation to ensure better protection.

Schedule Routine Maintenance From Roofing Contractors

Overall, the best way to prevent roofing hazards is to reach out to the professionals at Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors. We will perform any routine maintenance and assess the condition of your roof before winter storms really start to set in.

And, if you do notice any signs of storm damage, it’s especially important to have an expert perform any necessary repairs before they worsen.

Contact Us for Skilled Roof Repair & Replacement

When only the best roof maintenance will do, you know who to call: the company that brought you this blog. Reach our Sauk Rapids office at 320-252-9086 today before your roof compromises your family’s well being.

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