Winter comes and goes, and with it comes and goes the flurry of ice and snow that Pittsburgh braves year after year. You’ve got everything you need to fight the winter weather: you’ve salted down your driveway, you’ve installed new tires on your car, and you’ve stocked wood for the fireplace. But what about your house itself? Your roof can take some serious wear n’ tear from a cold winter.
With every nor’easter, your home undergoes more and more stress. Homeowners across the northeast get pounded with inches of snowfall in a short period of time, sometimes stranding them in the house, or even knocking out the power. You see stories on the news of shoppers racing to supply their homes with their basic needs, but you often hear much talk about how to protect your most important asset: your home itself.
It can be as simple as glancing over your roof before the bad weather hits. Look carefully, and take note of anything that doesn’t look quite right. Can you see any cracked shingles? Are there any missing shingles? How about any drooping or warped lines around the edges? Has any debris fallen and caused damage?
If you spot any of these issues, your roof could be leaking water into the home. You’ll want to find a contractor to schedule a roof repair right away. Our roofing contractors in Wexford, PA are working tirelessly to restore properties in the area. But what about avoiding these problems before they arise? What causes them in the first place? Let’s take a look at some of the most pressing hazards every homeowner should know when it comes to winter weather and the roof over their heads.
Condensation In and Around the Attic
A poorly insulated attic during the winter often leads to the warmth of your home escaping up to the rafters, where the cold air outside causes water vapor to condense against the wood. Over time, this leads to mold, and eventually rot. This seriously cuts into the life of your roof, which can be exceedingly expensive to replace.
Proper ventilation in your attic will help regulate the indoor temperature with the outdoor temperature. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure there’s proper insulation sealing your attic so that none of the heat below is creeping upstairs.
Powerful Gusts of Wind
Wind is a concern any time of year when there’s a storm, and it can be especially impacting in the winter time. In addition to debris flying up against the roof, you could have loose shingles, gutters falling off, and even falling tree limbs. Gotcha Covered Contracting has roofers in Allison Park, PA standing by to help fix or repair damages.
How can you prevent a wind damaged roof? While there’s not much that can be done to prevent strong winds from occasionally affecting your home, you can take steps to ensure that loose pieces of your roofing are detached and securely replaced, and to have large tree limbs around your property cleared ahead of time.
An ice dam might sound like a cute river home for a snow-loving beaver, but to homeowners, they’re far less cute.
An ice dam is a buildup of ice that forms along the edge of your roof where it joins with the gutters. When the sun finally emerges and snow slowly begins to melt, water begins to flow down along the roof to the edges below, which haven’t necessarily thawed. Especially if the edge is shaded from the heat, it may remain entirely frozen while the upper portion of the roof has thawed. The water trickles down, catches on the ice, and refreezes, building up the dam.
As the dam freezes, fresh water that’s just dripped down can pool up against the dam. These pools of sitting water can seep under the roof and get into your attic or leak down the walls.
You should be conscientious of ice dams, in particular, when there’s lots of snow built up on the roof, and you experience several days in a row of below-freezing temperatures. Like mentioned above, good attic ventilation can help control the temperatures around the roof and work to prevent ice dams from building up. However, if one has formed, don’t attempt to pick at it with an ice pick or chemicals to thaw it out. This can further exacerbate a damaged roof.
Pittsburgh is a forested region with many homes enjoying the shade and decorum of looming treetops. This is always a hazard to be wary of, but in the winter, trees can be especially tricky.
Not only can they lose their limbs (or fall over entirely) against powerful stormy winds, but they can be weighed down with snow, causing branches to snap off unexpectedly under the load. And even if they don’t, piles of snow can build up and eventually slip from the canopy, crushing down to your roof below. Your best bet is to prepare ahead of time, and arrange for any tree branches to be removed from overtop of your property in the first place.
Then, there’s your roof itself. These days, any half-decent roofer will have installed your original roof to handle significant loads, but over the years, and the more loads it bears, the more the roof will slowly deteriorate. Snow sitting on top of your house for weeks at a time takes its toll. If you need a reliable roofing company, call Gotcha Covered Contracting.
Yes, rodents, too, are a problem that gets more serious in the wintertime. Remember above where we advised to clear overhanging branches? Another great reason for this is that small critters can use them to get up to your roof, where they’ll be happy to make a home in any cracks or holes in your roof that give them access to the warm interior.
Even if a hole is too small, rats and other small animals can use their teeth to exacerbate the damage and work their way inside. Get ahead of this frustrating issue and have your roof repaired and rid of any pre-existing damage.
Why to Hire a Roofing Contractor for Winter Maintenance
Many of these issues seem like they’re easy to tackle yourself, but there are a few concerns when it comes to maintaining your roof in the wintertime.
The surface of your roof is going to be extra-slick when it’s been exposed to snow and ice. Careful though you may be, you’re better off leaving this dangerous task to the professional roofer, who will be much more equipped to prevent falls than you are.
Additionally, with older roofs in particular, sitting snow and ice that’s encumbering the structure can cause weak points that are prone to breaking down and collapsing altogether. A professional roofer will know how to identify and approach these hazard areas; don’t trust yourself without the proper training.
Finally, if you’re just not sure whether your roof is standing up to the elements, just give us a call today. We can help you understand the condition of your roof and what needs to be done to make it the healthiest it can be.