Effects of Snow and Ice on Roofs

//Effects of Snow and Ice on Roofs

Effects of Snow and Ice on Roofs

winter-houseAs snow has been piling up on the ground with these seemingly never ending snow storms, it’s also been accumulating on top of homes and buildings. Not just that, but with these sub-freezing temperatures, rain can freeze on top of your home during the cold hours of the night. Getting any amount of snow and/or ice off of your roof can be tricky and dangerous, especially when you try and handle it yourself.

Before you head indoors to escape the cold in front of a cozy fire, talk a walk around the outside of your home. More than likely, you will find icicles hanging from the edge of your roof. While this might seem beautiful and common, it could mean something more serious. If you find icicles hanging, you will probably also find that your roof isn’t properly insulated, or the gutter might be pushed away from the house.

A roof that seems bare of snow following a fresh powdering may be a sign of an insulation problem. Make sure the attic is the same temperature as outside with the use of a weather thermometer.  If the temperature is warmer in the attic and closer to the temperature of the heated portion of the house, it will cause the fresh snow hitting your roof to melt and then later re-freeze.

Icicles form when heat rises and causes the snow to melt during the day, and then freeze again at night when the temperature drops. While it’s possible for a homeowner to tackle this job alone, it’s always recommended that you call in a professional, as they will know exactly how to handle removing any icicles from your roof line as it should be handled very delicately.

While it might seem like a good idea to chip away at the ice or remove the snow to prevent a leak, roofers tend to disagree. If you hammer or chip away at the icicles or snow, you could cause your roof even more damage to the gutters or shingles, and create even more problems in the long run.

What could be even worse than the ice building up? Water damage. It’s very possible that winter water damage is a direct result of ice build up in your gutters. This is because after the snow melts it will quickly freeze in your gutters, expanding under the shingles and into your home.

When it comes time to clean up your roof after a snow/ice storm, there are a couple of variables to think about first. If you have a flat roof, you should be a little more concerned. A flat roof tends to hold the snow a little longer than a pitched roof and as the snow amount increased, the added weight could eventually compromise your roof. And when it starts to thaw, that could potentially lead to an even bigger problem if your drainage system isn’t adequate to handle the increased volume.

When it comes time for the ice to thaw, your roof drainage system should be free and clear of any obstructions and capable of doing what they are supposed to do. That drainage system needs to receive all the runoff water and convey it into a system to get the water weight from your home. If it doesn’t successfully complete this task, it could compromise the foundation walls, floors and ceilings.

The winter months are a time when you look forward to relaxing in front of a fireplace, in the comfort of your home. Staying alert, keeping an eye out on your roof will not only prevent any problems but also alert you early in the storm when there is a problem. Though the South rarely gets many inches of snow, that doesn’t mean ice or any amount of snow isn’t a problem, it just means that we’re not as prepared for it. If you prepare enough, you won’t have to worry and you can enjoy your snow day inside by the fireplace.

At Georgia Pro Inspection Company we serve all of Metro Atlanta with reliable home inspection services. We perform detailed home inspections and provide easy to read information with illustrated reports regarding your home. Call us today at (770) 655-0536 for your more information.

By |2018-12-05T16:45:10-05:00April 6th, 2015|Home Maintenance|Comments Off on Effects of Snow and Ice on Roofs

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