Mid-Winter Roof Care: Pretty Sights Can Hide Ugly Problems
Whether you live in a northern state that is known for yearly snow, or you have a home up in the snow-prone mountains in a southern state, you need to ensure your roof stays in good condition. Snow, ice, and cold, damp conditions can all damage your roof if you're not careful. By knowing what to look for and when to inspect, though, you can limit or prevent damage and keep your home in good shape.
Icicles and Ice Dams
Damaged or improperly installed insulation can lead to heat from your home escaping through the attic or crawlspace and heating up the bottom layer of snow on the roof. That melted bottom layer can then refreeze, eventually building up into a block of ice called an ice dam. This ice dam can prevent water from reaching the gutter and flowing away safely. When water does hit the ice dam, it instead overflows and often freezes into the form of icicles. These pose their own dangers, namely the fact that they can be heavy and sharp, and they have been responsible for injuries. If you see any signs of icicles or ice dams, you need to take immediate action. Call in both an insulation company to fix what's happening in the home, and a roofing company to ensure the roof itself is still in one piece.
Even if you aren't experiencing ice dams, you could have a clogged gutter creating a backup when water tries to flow away from your roof. Just because your trees are no longer dropping leaves doesn't mean others' trees aren't, so get that gutter cleaned out before winter, and have it inspected in the middle of winter, too. If you notice water overflowing the gutter, have the gutter checked immediately.
A heavy snowfall once in a while won't do much to the roof, but if your area is experiencing unusually heavy snows along with temperatures that stay below freezing -- thus not giving the snow the chance to melt away -- you need to get the snow removed from the roof. Too much snow means too much weight, which can create cracks in the roof or damage the frame of the house. For ground floor roofs, you can use a roof rake to carefully pull down the extra snow while you stand on the ground; for upper stories, call a roofing company. Do not attempt to remove snow from upper stories yourself.
You actually don't have to panic if you see what might be algae on your roof. You should have it checked, to be sure it actually is algae and not something else; algae on asphalt shingles, for example, can also look like worn patches that need to be replaced. If the patches are algae, do get them cleaned because they are unsightly and can attract other organisms like molds. Alarm, however, is not required.
Taking care of a roof in winter isn't that hard, but you do have to be vigilant. If you see anything out of the ordinary, call a home roofing company. Your roof is a part of your home that you can't take chances with, and a roofing company helps keep that part in service-worthy shape.