When it comes to home maintenance, there's plenty to worry about once temperatures start dropping. Between snow-covered driveways and frozen pipes, cold winters often mean plenty of work and unexpected costs for homeowners. Unfortunately, your roof isn't immune to the dangers of cold weather, and winter storms can mean big trouble.
However, heavy snow building up on your roof shouldn't be your only concern. Instead, ice is often your roof's worst enemy. Ice can cause numerous problems, including premature wear and even significant leaks and water damage. If you want to avoid these situations, it's crucial to understand how and why ice can threaten residential roofing.
How Your Shingles Work
From the outside, your home can seem like a sealed environment. Most homes don't have large, gaping holes around their windows or doors, and you may not have any problematic drafts or other problems. Despite this, most residential structures are relatively porous on a smaller scale. Even a well-insulated home has plenty of potential vulnerabilities.
Your roofing shingles are one area where this is particularly true. Your roofing shingles don't seal your roof against moisture. Asphalt shingles work by overlapping in a way that allows moisture to shed down and away from your home's roof. Flashing and gutters help direct this water away from vulnerable areas where it can seep inside.
This design works well, but it's also directional. Water flows down your roof, moving across the areas where your shingles overlap and safely away. Water that moves up your roof for any reason can sometimes get under the shingles, allowing it to seep onto the roof decking. This situation is why some homes experience leaks during severe, wind-driven rainstorms.
How Ice Affects Your Roof
Ice can exploit the overlapping design of a shingle roof, creating leaks that don't exist in warmer weather. As the ice builds up, it pushes against the shingles and may separate them from the decking and allow water to enter your home. This situation typically occurs when snow melts, runs down the roof surface, and ultimately forms ice dams along the edge.
These leaks can often cause significant damage to a home. Water can enter your walls, ruining insulation or even damaging wiring. You may also notice water stains developing in the corners of exterior walls. These symptoms are all indications of ice build-up on your roof that's forcing water underneath the shingles.
While it may be necessary to repair damage caused by ice dams, the best long-term solution is adequate prevention. If you're experiencing significant ice build-up on your roof, you'll need a professional roofing contractor to evaluate your roof's ventilation system and determine the underlying cause. Addressing your roof ventilation issues will prevent future ice dams and allow you to avoid costly roof leaks.
For more information, reach out to a company such as New Roof.