10 Common Roof Problems You Can Expect to See This Winter

roof problems

When winter comes around, the one thing you should be able to depend on is a warm, cozy home. When you’ve braved the elements from your car to the front door after work, you want to get a hot drink and relax on the sofa. 

But our homes don’t always look after themselves. Changes in weather conditions, age, and general wear and tear can lead to roof problems throughout the year. In winter, when the conditions are harsher, your home could be at risk from a range of challenging roof issues.  

The best way to ensure your roof does its job well and you get to stay warm and cozy is preventative care. From getting a professional inspection to clearing out your gutters, preparing your roof for winter is the first step. 

If you want to keep your home in tip-top condition this winter, read on to discover common roof problems and how to prevent them. 

1. Leaf Litter in Gutters

Clogged gutters are common in the fall and winter due to leaf litter washing down and getting stuck. Animals can also leave a mess in gutters. From squirrels hiding acorns to birds abandoning poorly-placed nests, your guttering is a haven for debris. 

Blocked gutters stop rainwater from flowing easily off your roof and down the drain and are responsible for several of the items on this list. It’s essential that you keep your gutters cleaned throughout the year and especially in winter. 

If they’re cracking or no longer up to the job, it might be time to get your gutters replaced entirely. 

2. Ice Dams

Ice dams are one of the biggest dangers to the structural integrity of your roof thanks to their weight and habit of leaking into your walls. These dams sit along your gutters and lower portion of your roof, putting immense pressure on the area. 

Ice dams are caused by snow melting at the top of your roof and running down to the edge before refreezing. Poor attic insulation is often to blame as heat escapes through the top of the roof. 

Ensuring your attic is well insulated is an important measure. You can also limit the risk of ice dams forming by getting snow removed from your roof and keeping your gutters clear. 

3. Icicles

Icicles grace Christmas cards and look pretty but they’re not something you want hanging from your roof. Just like ice dams, icicles are caused by water running down your roof and freezing as it moves over cooler lower sections before freezing solid. 

Water should run into gutters but if they’re overflowing and frozen, icicles form on the edge, posing a threat to those walking below. Solution? Keep your gutters clear and functioning.

4. Condensation

Winter roof issues don’t just occur on the outside. Condensation is a common roof problem that can escalate if left unmanaged. 

Condensation can be seen through water droplets that form when warm air hits a cold surface. This happens often in poorly insulated attic spaces where the roof is much colder than the air inside. Condensation leads to dampness and mold, causing damage and weakness in the roof. 

Keeping your attic well-ventilated and well-insulated are the best ways to reduce the risk of condensation forming this winter. 

5. Winter Storm Damage

When storms are forecast, it’s often too late to call in an expert to take preventative measures. It’s always best to thoroughly inspect your roof, attic, and gutters in advance of the winter storm season. 

With strong winds, heavy snow, and hail common in winter storms, roofs can suffer the worst of the conditions. To ensure your roof will stay strong in winter storms, check out our list of winter roof maintenance tips so you can check each one off. 

6. Leaking Flashing

Flashing often gets overlooked when you think about roof maintenance but it plays a big role in keeping your roof weather-tight. 

Flashing can separate from the edge of the roof for many reasons, winter damage being a common one. When the flashing isn’t watertight, water and ice can find their way into the roof materials and your walls. 

It’s sensible to inspect the condition of your flashing during fall as well as throughout the winter. This way you can spot signs of damage before it turns into a leak. 

7. Animals

They might be cute and looking for a warm place, but animals can cause a surprising amount of damage if they get inside your house. Even small holes in the roof or attic wall may invite rats, squirrels, and birds inside. Once in your attic, these creatures may set up home and damage the interior or widen entry points. 

Keep little animals out by inspecting your attic and roof for small holes. Seal up any gaps you find and ensure tree branches within six feet of your roof are pruned back. 

8. Tree Damage

Winter storms and harsh weather can damage trees near your house. With falling branches and older trees falling entirely, it’s important to inspect trees for weakness and proximity. 

Getting a professional to check out trees that could drop branches onto your roof is far more affordable than dealing with the resulting damage. Weak branches can be removed before the winter to reduce the risk of roof damage. 

9. Heavy Snow

Snow might look light and fluffy but when it builds up it carries tremendous weight. For weakened or leaking roofs, heavy snow puts your home at risk of significant damage. 

If your home is old, it might be time to check if you need a new roof altogether. To keep your roof stable throughout winter, it’s best to have heavy snow removed as quickly as possible. 

10. Loose Shingles

Shingles are specially designed to keep the elements out, but loose shingles are a common problem in winter. Strong winds, hail, and ice can all contribute to loosening shingles. 

When you have loose shingles or even missing ones, your roof is at risk of leaking. This creates damp and weakness that can be expensive to repair. Getting a professional to inspect your roof and check the state of shingles, is the easiest way to tick this off your list. 

Avoid Common Roof Problems This Winter

Preparation and maintenance are the best ways to avoid common roof problems each winter. It might be something you’ve put off doing but professional inspections are a small price to pay to avoid serious roofing issues. 

With regular inspections, gutter clearing, and general roof maintenance jobs, you can spot any signs of damage before they turn into major problems. 

If you’re looking for roof and gutter services in the Dallas, Denver or Chicago areas, give us a call and we’ll make sure your home stays safe and snug this winter. 

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