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What Are Common Sources of Winter Roof Leaks?

Snow on roof

Winter is a challenging period for homeowners. Low temperatures and excess moisture can cause roof materials to shrink and structural materials to deform. Mitigating the damaging issues of winter requires proper roof maintenance to find the source of leaks. 

Keep reading to learn the common causes of winter roof leaks. VillWell Builders, LLC, an excellent roofing and siding repair company, shares more information in this post.

Common Sources of Winter Roof Leaks

Typically, winter roof leaks occur due to the following reasons:

Ice Dams

Ice dams are a common occurrence during winter. They create icicles that trap water and cause leaks. Snow can melt due to the warm spots on your roof, then freeze again when it reaches cold areas. You can prevent ice dams from forming through proper insulation and ventilation. Hire a roofer to check your attic ventilation, insulation, humidity levels and indoor temperature.

Roof Shingle Damage

Asphalt shingle damage can be exacerbated during winter. The cracks, splits and structural damage to your asphalt shingles are often the sources of winter roof leaks. A cracked asphalt shingle occurs due to expansion and contraction as the seasons change. Split asphalt shingles happen because their joints shrink due to wear and age. That said, let a professional roof and siding repair contractor inspect your roof for any damaged shingles.

Clogged Gutters

Gutter systems should be clear during winter. Clogged systems cause backflow by trapping melted snow. You can prevent this from happening through regular cleaning and gutter inspections. Hiring roofers to do this lets them evaluate the state of your gutters and fix minor damage after cleaning them.

Dripping or Leaking Bathroom Fans

Moisture trapped inside the vent hose can drip through bathroom fans. It freezes during winter and melts in the spring, making it seem like a roof leak occurred near the fan’s opening. That said, you must still hire a home improvement contractor or roofer to inspect your roof to see if the vent hose or a roof leak is the source of dripping.

Flashing Damage

Any cracks on corroded flashing can cause winter roof leaks. Flashing can suffer from physical damage before winter, so it needs immediate replacement. Hire a roofer to inspect your flashing and evaluate its condition. Furthermore, a roofer can replace your damaged flashing before winter arrives.

Condensation on Skylights

Skylight leaks during winter are due to high indoor humidity. The moisture collects on the skylight and drips as it condenses. You can reduce indoor humidity by making sure the setting of the built-in humidifier of your furnace is relative to the temperature outside. Home improvement contractors can also help repair any compromised seals on your skylights.

Plumbing Leaks

Leaky plumbing might look like winter roof leaks, and it can be due to several factors. For example, caulking cracks on toilets and bathtubs in upper-floor bathrooms can drip to the lower floors. Nevertheless, hire a roofer to check your roof for possible leaks and a plumber to inspect your bathrooms for plumbing issues.

Attic Frost and Condensation

Roofs with poor ventilation, insulation and sealing can suffer attic frost and condensation. These enable freezing air in the attic to meet the winter-cold roof deck and create frost. This would melt during spring and cause major water damage to your deck and attic. Prevent frost and condensation in the attic before winter by hiring reliable building renovation roofers to improve your ventilation and insulation system.

Steps to Prevent Winter Roof Leaks

Winter roof leaks can cause major problems on your roof. Identifying the signs of damage requires a trained eye so be sure to have your roof checked by a professional regularly. Take the following steps to mitigate or avoid roof leaks:

Hire a Roofing Contractor

Building renovation and roofing contractors know your local weather and its impact on residential roofs, so they’re the most qualified professionals to identify possible sources of winter leaks. They can give you a complete report on your roof and conduct small repairs or replacements to reinforce and prepare it before winter arrives.

Check Vulnerable Areas

Winter leaks always come from the path of least resistance. Any weak areas in your roof are possible sources of leaks during winter. Check your chimney, plumbing vents, skylights and other roof structures for flashing damage, cracked caulking and compromised seals. Hiring a local roofer to check your roof allows you to address these issues before winter arrives.

Schedule Gutter Cleaning

Clear gutters ensure that melted snow can flow to your downspouts without issues. Roofers can clear them for you and check their capability to handle rainfall and snowmelt during winter. Furthermore, you can ask them to install gutter guards or covers to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating in the system. Other solutions can also be applied to repel small animals from nesting and damaging your gutters.

Use Drip Edges

Drip edges prevent eaves from enduring backflow that causes leaks and wood rot in your attic. Hire a roofer to install them correctly and preserve your roof’s longevity.

Check for Weak Areas

Damaged shingles will need immediate replacement or repairs. They are the primary sources of winter leaks. Professionals can replace any missing or damaged shingles before winter arrives.

Evaluate Attic Humidity

The humidity inside your attic will freeze during winter and condense during spring. The high moisture level during spring will encourage mold growth, so have reliable roofers check your ventilation and insulation. They can improve the system and replace tattered or soaked insulation to prevent mold growth.

How to Build an Effective Attic Ventilation System

Excellent attic ventilation and insulation reduce humidity and prevent frost and condensation from occurring and damaging your roof structures and material. To build an efficient ventilation system, you’ll need 1 square foot of ventilation per 300 cubic feet of attic space. A roofer can evaluate if your attic meets these requirements, then design and build a system that meets your needs.

A good ventilation system has an adequate number of intake and exhaust vents. Intake vents move fresh air into the attic; they include gable, ridge and under-eave vents. On the other hand, exhaust vents like turbine vents and attic ventilation fans remove humidity and trapped heat from your attic.

Request a Roofing Estimate Today!

Need a top-notch roofer to fix your roof and ensure it can perform well in winter? Look no further than VillWell Builders, LLC. We have a reputation for top-notch workmanship and excellent customer service. Call us at (475) 271-1242 or fill out our contact form to get a free estimate.

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