It’s been cold in central North Carolina for days and now we have snow, sleet, and freezing rain. These are the perfect conditions for roof problems caused by ice. Living in the South, we don’t often have to worry about roof damage from winter weather, so you may not know what to expect. Roofs here are not required to be built to the same codes as in areas prone to snow and ice, so your roof may not be able to withstand this weather. Here are some of the leading causes of roof damage from winter storms.
Many people know that ice dams can form on your roof with snow, but you may not know that you can get an ice dam without snow. Sleet, freezing rain, and even just rain in cold temperatures can cause ice dams, and these can be less obvious than ice dams caused by snow. When the freezing rain falls on your roof in cold temperatures, some of the rain will freeze on your roof, but most of it will run down your roof and collect and freeze on the eaves of your home (overhangs that extend beyond the walls of your home). The water may also pool and freeze around skylights, chimneys, valleys, gutters, or any other roof penetrations such as bathroom or kitchen vents. This will cause a buildup of ice called an ice dam. The ice itself is not the problem. The problem occurs when the water tries to run off your roof and hits the ice and pools. The water can then start to penetrate your shingles and get into your home. This can cause water damage inside your home.
Ice can turn existing roof problems into roof leaks. Lifted shingles, exposed nail heads, lifting nails, and improper flashing are all areas where water can start to penetrate your roof and leak into your home. You may already have these issues and are not aware because you don’t have an active leak yet. When water freezes in these areas of your roof in cold temperatures, it expands in volume. When ice expanding lifts shingle seals, the shingles will not reseal and will allow water to penetrate your roof. You may notice a leak right away, but often it will cause a problem that won’t be immediately visible. If you see water or ice coming out of your siding or soffit, the water has already penetrated the vapor barrier (roof underlayment) and it is only a matter of time before you start noticing leaks in your house.
Water Penetration in Valleys
Since we do not often get this type of weather in central North Carolina, ice and water shield in the valleys is not required by building code. An ice and water shield is a waterproof membrane that is put in the valleys of a roof to protect your roof from ice and water damage. Many homes do not have this barrier and that will allow the water from ice dams to leak through the valleys into your home. Because at Harbeck Roofing & Remodeling we believe in superior construction at a fair price, we put an ice and water shield in all of our valleys at no extra charge. Many new construction homes will not have this in the valleys, so even new roofs can have leaks or damage from one winter storm.
When water freezes in your gutters, it expands and can cause gutters and downspouts to crack. The weight of the ice in your gutters can also cause gutters to become loose or detach from your home completely.
If you have a roofing problem caused by the weather, call a professional to come out to address the problem. Often damage caused from ice is not immediately visible. Even an ice dam from one storm can lead to costly repairs down the road. The best thing to do is have your roof inspected by a roofing professional after a winter storm to ensure that you don’t have a problem or fix it before it becomes a bigger issue later. You can give Harbeck Roofing & Remodeling a call and we will come out and inspect your roof for you for free.