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What To Do With Roof Leaks During Winter Snow?

By December 13, 2019 July 26th, 2020 No Comments

Snow Melting Window Leaking

Homeowners who look to prolong their home’s lifespan should look into establishing proper roof maintenance practices. One of which is the prevention and quick repair of roof leaks. A roof leak when the winter snow melts is actually one of the biggest problems you will encounter as a property owner. However, you can easily learn the causes of roof leaks and use this knowledge to prevent it from occurring.

Roof Leaks When Snow Melts

When the piled up snow on top of your roof starts to melt, it tends to ruin down the side of your roof and refreeze. These refrozen bits of melted snow that form at the side of your roof are known as ice dams. Ice dams are potentially damaging since it actually causes water to pool up at the side of your roof, thus, damaging your home. Luckily, the formation of ice dams is easy to prevent.

Ice Dam Formation

During the cold seasons, your warm house heats up the snow on top and causes it to melt. However, the top of your roof is oftentimes one of the warmest parts of the structure, so when the melted snow starts to fall off the side, it has a tendency to refreeze as it approaches the edge, which is actually one of the cooler parts of the roof. These ice dams are problematic not just because of the tendency for it to cause water to pool up on the roof sides, the weight alone of the ice dams is stressful to the roof edges and could cause structural damage.
Even further damage occurs when the melted snow starts to form pools on the dams. The water is likely to seep in through the roof and into the home, causing roof leaks and internal damage to the roof’s underlying structures.

Prevention Tips

The requirement for ice dams to form is that there should initially be subzero temperatures for the snow to pile up and then higher temperatures for it to melt, and then subzero temperatures again for ice dams to form. These three conditions lead to the problem; without these, you are less likely to suffer from snowmelt roof leaks due to ice dams. This is why controlling the roof temperature is actually one of the main things you can do. When your entire roof is below sub-zero temperature, the snow will not melt, which will result in not being able to ice forming on the edges. Unfortunately, it is not possible to keep your entire roof at the same temperature. But, you can make it so that the entire roof is at subzero temperatures by having proper insulation installed throughout.

Another thing that you can do is to make use of a rubber membrane that you can attach directly to the roofing structure, before adding the roofing shingles. This is an effective layer to add on to give your roof that extra protection, not just from roof leaks but other environmental hazards as well.

Types of Roof Leaks

There are 3 general categories of roof leaks. The most common type of roof leak is the type of leak that occurs when it is raining. This type of leak is often caused by wrong installation, damage, or deterioration of some components to the roofing. Sometimes, poor flashing at the chimneys, windows, and other parts can be a cause of this type of roof leak. These are categorized as external leaks that can be repaired by a roofer.

The second type of leaking, which is what is caused by melted snow, is the one caused by ice dam formation. This usually happens later in the winter when the snow is starting to thaw out or during milder winter days when the snow tends to melt. The melted snow is likely to form ice dams at the eaves of the roof, which then causes water to pool, seep through the house, and start leaking. This type of leaking is not caused by any problems with installation and can be quite common if prior steps are not taken towards prevention, so it is often not included under any warranties.

Lastly, another type of roof leak is due to condensation build-up in your home’s attic. When frost or ice starts to form under your roof’s sheathing, and sometimes inside the wall and roof, it can cause your roof to leak. Initially, the frost forms due to the warm air entering the cold attic area. When activities such as bathing, cooking, or doing laundry occur, some of the heat goes up into the attic and adds moisture.

Whichever the cause of leaking, it is important to take precautionary measures to prevent the likelihood of roof leaks from occurring. Having a roofing contractor discuss the options to reinforce your roofing Denver CO will be beneficial in the long run.

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