A cold, hard winter can be a trying time for your roof, the most vulnerable piece of your home. If you know how to identify damage from issues like ice dams and melting snow, dealing with the aftermath might be easier than you think.
Damage from the Inside
Checking for winter roof damage can begin without stepping outside. Be on the lookout for water damage and discoloration on the ceiling – a sure sign of a leaky roof that’s prone to further damage caused by rain and snow.
Inspect your attic with a flashlight for further signs of damage, such as mold and discoloration. Make note of the location of the damage so you can look for the opening on the outside of the roof.
Even if no obvious sign of damage is found inside the roof, an opening that could cause future damage may still be there. Turn off all lights and search for pinpoints of sunshine. Any crack, no matter how small, may cause problems in the future.
Look closely at vents and chimney connection points in the roof. These are places where cracks often form in the shingles. If you make checking your attic a routine practice, you’ll be able to catch little problems before they become big ones.
Damage from the Outside
Once the weather warms you can take a look on the roof. Make sure you find a helper to spot you while you’re climbing up there. Work involving the roof can be dangerous. So if you do it yourself, proceed with caution and use great care.
Give areas that have been cemented or sealed in the past a look first, checking for cracking from cold weather. Next check your roof for broken, cracked, or raised shingles caused by sudden temperature changes that happen often during the winter season. Depending on the damage, a shingle may just need resealing or replacement.
Inspect your gutters and eaves for damage caused by an abundance of ice from snow thawing and refreezing quickly, leading to expanded cracks and holes in the roof.
Preventive Maintenance for Next Winter
Investing in preventive care for your roof will help avoid hefty price tags in the future. Check that the gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and debris. These places are most susceptible to ice dams forming as a result from improper drainage.
A properly ventilated attic with sealed vents will reduce roof heat levels, which in turn allows snow and ice to melt at a less rapid rate, preventing pooling at the roof’s edge. Keep an eye out for snow buildup on the roof. If it’s looking to be a lot (for example, over 12 inches) you might want to try and remove it from the roof. Make sure that you do this as safely as possible if you wish to attempt it.
After the winter season, your roof deserves all the TLC that it possibly can. Being proactive, and catching problems before they get worse will save you much time and money in more costly repairs down the road.