Snow And Roof Damage: Common Problems and Solutions

Accumulation of snow on your roof can cause damage, from expanding minor leaks to complete roof collapse. It is therefore a good idea to assess the condition of your roof before winter arrives. A few points of concern include:

Existing leaks

Snow can accelerate the expansion of a leak as it melts and then refreezes between the roof and ceiling. You should check carefully for possible sources of minor leaks. These include cracked, broken, or missing tiles, protruding or missing roofing nails, and loose flashing around abutments and roof edges.

Replace all defective tiles and nails, covering nails with roofing cement to seal any holes and to keep the nail from popping out again because of changes in temperature. Nail all loose flashing in place, and seal it around the edges with silicone sealant (or roofing cement if it cannot be seen from the ground).

Loose gutters

Snow that accumulates in loose gutters can cause them to push away from the fascia to which they are secured or to detach completely. Loose gutters present an additional hazard in winter, because snow can blow behind the gutters. It can then melt in the daytime sun and refreeze at night, expanding and pushing the gutters farther away from the exterior wall.

If your gutters have become loose, check the pitch before you secure them to the wall. Your gutters should be slanted slightly toward the downspout to allow for proper drainage. You can use a stick level or even a smartphone app level to determine if your gutter is slanted in the right direction.

If you have seven inch spikes (nails) securing your gutters, you should replace them with gutter screws. Screws provide a more secure hold than spikes, especially if the nail holes in the fascia have been slightly expanded because of the loose gutter.

Be sure to clean your gutters thoroughly to allow melting snow to drain to the downspout. Use gloves (gutters have some sharp edges, and gutter muck is disgusting) and a gutter cleaning tool, which resembles a small narrow hand spade, to clean the gutters. The accumulation of dirt and debris in your gutters is heavier than it appears, so if you are depositing it in a container, empty it before it gets very full.

Pooled water

This could be a sign of structural damage, and you should consider hiring a roofing contractor to inspect the location. The weight of accumulated snow can cause a compromised area of the roof to collapse completely, which is especially unpleasant in the cold of winter.

For more help, contact a service like Davis & Winslow Roofing.