Keep an eye on roof conditions this winter
Did you know a snow-covered roof is a good thing?
After a snow fall, go outside and take a look at your roof. Do you see any bare patches where snow has melted? That’s a sign you don’t have enough insulation in your attic, which means heat is escaping out of the home. It could also be due to poor attic ventilation. That’s not a good thing for your home’s energy efficiency, and it’s not a good thing for your roof, either.
Seeing some melted snow around your exhaust and venting is natural; it’s those bare spots in the middle or within a few feet of the roof edge that you really want to watch for.
Having a little snow on your roof isn’t cause for concern, and even if you get hit by a heavy snowfall, except in perhaps some extreme cases, it’s most likely still not a problem. Roof structures are designed and built to withstand the weight of snow loads.
If, however, you’re still worried about the extra weight, I would call in a professional to remove it. While some homeowners opt to do it on their own, climbing onto your roof is a hazard in the clearest of conditions, let alone during the winter when it’s covered in snow and ice.
OK, so what if you shovel it off from the ground? That’s fine, right? Not quite — you could damage your shingles. As well, if you’re not careful, the snow could come down on top of you!
If you absolutely have to do it yourself, know the risks. But me, I’d call a pro.
So you’ve looked at your roof and found some bare spots that shouldn’t be there. Is it really such a big deal?
When the snow on your roof melts, the water has to go somewhere. Usually, it will trickle down to a cold spot on your roof and refreeze, which creates an ice dam and forms large icicles. This starts a cycle that blocks water from draining off the roof. As water gets blocked from flowing down, it goes backwards, getting under your shingles and eventually into your attic and walls.
Ice dams can cause a lot of damage throughout your home. It can even travel through your exterior wall cavity and find its way into your basement! It might not seem obvious, but water in your basement may be due to insufficient roof insulation and ventilation.
Another contributing cause of ice damming is clogged eaves troughs. Backed-up water and debris can freeze, preventing water from draining. When the ice spills over top of your eaves, you’ll get those beautiful icicles. Beautiful, yes, but dangerous! If you haven’t already done so, make sure to clear those gutters out one final time this season!
RE-ROOFING IN WINTER?
Ultimately, roofing professionals need to be safe — and during the winter when conditions are worse, it’s more dangerous for a roofer to climb all over your roof. That said, if you have an issue with your roof, such as a leak, you shouldn’t wait for spring to deal with the issue.
That said, a total re-roof during the winter is an unrealistic solution. You want to place a new roof in the best of conditions: when it’s dry and warm enough for your shingles to adhere properly.
For roof emergencies during the winter, your roofer should be able to set you up with a temporary solution to get you through until the spring.
While it’s a little late in the season to install a new roof before winter really kicks into high gear, if you know your roof has some trouble spots or is on its last legs, start making calls to roofing experts in your neighbourhood now. Even if they can’t do a replacement right away, give them a call so that when spring does hit, you’ll be first on their list to get a new roof.