6 Common Roofing Problems that Homeowners Face During Winter

Nov 13, 2020Winter Roofing

From frozen pipes to driveways buried in snow, harsh winters cause many headaches for homeowners. The best way to avoid these unwanted troubles is to start planning! Use the precious time you have now to schedule inspections, cleanups, and fixes before bad weather starts. This is the most efficient way to keep your home and family safe.

The roof is one of the most vulnerable components of a house. It is directly exposed to sunlight and outside weather, taking the brunt of extreme conditions. And sadly, it is also not immune to the consequences of cold winter days.

The first step in securing your house is to learn where and what to inspect or upgrade. In this article, we will go through the six common dangers for residential roofs in winter. Here is what every responsible homeowner should know about these dangers and the steps to protect your roof.

#1: LOW INDOOR TEMPERATURES

Usually, the first sign that something isn’t right in the house is a sudden change in indoor temperatures. When there is a temperature shift, it becomes more challenging to keep the heat up, and the energy bills get higher. 

Houses are protected by multiple systems that work together as a whole. If your rooms get colder at night or draftiness comes out of nowhere, you might be facing several issues. You might have an old window, poor insulation, a damaged roof, or everything at once. 

So right before winter starts, make sure to check all vulnerable areas such as windows, roofs, doors, and insulation. If you notice cracks or any sign of deterioration, immediately contact professional contractors

Woman cold inside her calgary home
Woman cold inside her calgary home

#1: LOW INDOOR TEMPERATURES

Usually, the first sign that something isn’t right in the house is a sudden change in indoor temperatures. When there is a temperature shift, it becomes more challenging to keep the heat up, and the energy bills get higher. 

Houses are protected by multiple systems that work together as a whole. If your rooms get colder at night or draftiness comes out of nowhere, you might be facing several issues. You might have an old window, poor insulation, a damaged roof, or everything at once. 

So right before winter starts, make sure to check all vulnerable areas such as windows, roofs, doors, and insulation. If you notice cracks or any sign of deterioration, immediately contact professional contractors.

Calgary Roofing Condensation

#2: CONDENSATION

Often, homeowners will witness a leak in the bathroom fan and immediately think the roof is leaking. However, most of the time, the main culprit is condensation, one of the most common roofing problems in Calgary in winter.

The most significant cause of indoor condensation is inadequate roofing ventilation. So how does roof ventilation work, and why is it important in winter?  A simple fact to keep in mind is that heated air always goes upward to the attic. If your house doesn’t have proper ventilation, that air will meet cold surfaces in the attic, condense, and cause damage wherever it goes from there. 

Proper roofing ventilation is a system that’s designed to prevent that from happening. Its job is to maintain a continuous airflow to get rid of overheated air and moisture from the attic. It does this with the help of the soffits and air vents, which must be carefully designed and strategically placed to meet the home’s needs.

 

#3: SNOWY TREES

Even though it might sound unbelievable, snowy trees are a very common cause of roof damage. Snow might look like cotton candy, but it gets very heavy when it builds up. When trees get covered in snow, it puts extra weight on them, and their branches are more likely to fall off. 

If you have large trees near your roof, remember that they can cause damage by falling on it or scrapping a part of it, usually its protective layers.

We all know that trees, especially snowy ones, make a wonderful view, but you must remember to trim them before winter starts. Trees near the roof can also cause issues in autumn since falling leaves can clog the gutters.

Woman cold inside her calgary home
Woman cold inside her calgary home

#3: SNOWY TREES

Even though it might sound unbelievable, snowy trees are a very common cause of roof damage. Snow might look like cotton candy, but it gets very heavy when it builds up. When trees get covered in snow, it puts extra weight on them, and their branches are more likely to fall off. 

If you have large trees near your roof, remember that they can cause damage by falling on it or scrapping a part of it, usually its protective layers.

We all know that trees, especially snowy ones, make a wonderful view, but you must remember to trim them before winter starts. Trees near the roof can also cause issues in autumn since falling leaves can clog the gutters.

Ice damn on a cabin by calgary alberta in winter

#4: ICE DAMS

The roof is a complicated structure, consisting of many parts such as soffit, fascia, and gutters. If one of these is blocked or damaged in any way, the entire system will collapse, which can even lead to basement floods. 

So how can ice play a role in such scenarios? Well, sometimes in winter, the snow on the roof starts to melt only in one spot. Similar to condensation, the reason behind this is usually an improper ventilation system. With inadequate ventilation, the heat from the inside does not equally distribute through the entire roof surface. In such cases, the snow from the middle of the roof melts, but the other snow does not.

When this happens, the melted snow starts travelling downwards, getting to the parts of the roof where the snow hasn’t melted yet. This is where the melted snow gets stuck and freezes again, forming beautiful but dangerous ice dams. 

For dealing with and preventing ice dams, there is no better way than calling your local ice dam removal company. However, you can avoid the issue by cleaning your gutters before winter, scheduling a roof snow removal, and making sure your roof ventilation fits your home’s needs.

 

#5: STRONG WINDS

The people of Calgary know well enough that snow and ice are nothing when compared to strong winds. High wind can cause shingles to loosen up or fall. It can also cause trees to fall on the roof, cracking shingles and other roof parts.

Some parts of your roof, like the hip and ridge areas, are less affected by wind than others. However,  there are other factors involved, such as shingle material and roof age.

If your roof is reaching its lifespan limit or you suspect that it isn’t secure enough, schedule an inspection as soon as possible. If you want to fully upgrade the roof, asphalt and fibreglass, rubber, and cedar-shake roofs are good choices for materials as they have high wind-resistance.

 

Strong winter winds downtown calgary
Strong winter winds downtown calgary

#5: STRONG WINDS

The people of Calgary know well enough that snow and ice are nothing when compared to strong winds. High wind can cause shingles to loosen up or fall. It can also cause trees to fall on the roof, cracking shingles and other roof parts.

Some parts of your roof, like the hip and ridge areas, are less affected by wind than others. However, there are other factors involved, such as shingle material and roof age.

If your roof is reaching its lifespan limit, or you suspect that it isn’t secure enough, schedule an inspection as soon as possible. If you want to upgrade the roof entirely, good material choices would be asphalt and fibreglass, rubber, or cedar shakes, as they all provide high wind-resistance.

 

Heavy Snow on a roof in calgary during winter

#6: SNOW LOAD

Just as tree branches can collapse and fall from excessive snow, so can the roof. The cause for roof collapse from snow load is straightforward. It happens when the snow buildup’s overall weight exceeds the maximum weight the roof was designed to carry. 

This winter roofing issue is not as common as those mentioned above, but it is the most dangerous. Snow load is especially hazardous for flat roofs. Even though all flat roofs are slightly sloped, they don’t provide an easy and natural way for snow to fall on the ground. That is why snow removal is essential for flat roofs. 

Other than roof snow removal, a crucial step to preventing collapse from snow load is to install quality roofing ventilation.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your roof, feel free to give us a call! We are a family-owned roofing company with over 22 years of experience, and our team is ready to help you secure and prepare your roof for this year’s winter!

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