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5 Winter Roofing Myths

Winter roofing myths

There are a lot of myths surrounding roofing and the winter season so I thought we’d take a moment to dispel some of these myths.

1. You can’t replace a roof in the winter.

Since it is almost winter, you’d expect our roofing team to close up shop and wait for warmer weather, right? Wrong. We can replace roofs all through the winter. If we have to push snow off of the roof before starting, then we do that. Sure, we have to dress warmer and have a few more safety checks before beginning, but we do it. Projects can usually start quickly because there is not a large roofing backlog also, so you can get your project done quickly.

2. Ice damming is not a big deal.

Ice dams are the result of poor ventilation meeting poor insulation. Snow buildup on your roof melts because the roof is warmer than it should be. Water then flows underneath the snow down to the eaves where it gets cold again and freezes into ice. This process repeats until you have a dangerous, heavy mass of ice hanging on your gutter. Over time, this ice pulls up your shingles, damages your gutters and can destroy your roof. Ice damming is a huge deal. Get the right insulation and ventilation in place to avoid it at all costs.

Ice damming may seem harmless, but it can be causing irreparable damage to your roof. (By Dmcroof (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)
Ice damming may seem harmless, but it can be causing irreparable damage to your roof. (By Dmcroof (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)

3. My roof is made to support any amount of snow.

Roofs are designed to hold themselves up as well as some workers and occasional loads, but nothing like the thousands of pounds of snow that can accumulate in the course of one our nasty Michigan winters (see February 2014). People that don’t actively try and remove some of the weight from their roofs see frequent roof cave-ins. It’s not uncommon. The best way to reduce that load is to use a roof rake or shovel to dislodge the snow and keep it below

4. No need to inspect my roof until spring.

Winter is a great time to get up in the attic (it’s not so dang hot) and look around for issues. It’s often the time of year that critters are seeking a warm space to live. You can also look for issues of condensation on the underside of the roof deck. Warm, moist air from your living space can condense on the cold boards in the attic and cause mildew and mold if you don’t have a good vapor barrier. Looking at your roof and chimney from the outside is also a great idea in the winter. If you look for areas where snow build up is lower than other areas, that’s a place where heat is getting through and maybe a sign of missing insulation in the attic. Of course, keep an eye on the snow level and don’t let it get out of hand.

5. Leaks don’t happen in the winter.

Some might think that because the precipitation is usually frozen in the winter, that the likelihood of leaks is much lower. Just because it’s sitting on your roof as snow, doesn’t mean it’s not melting and traveling down through your roof beams and onto your drywall. Snow buildup can actually lead to more frequent roof leaks than when there is a driving rain in the spring & summer. Roofs are designed to resist flowing water, but they have more trouble with water freezing, melting and refreezing again. It can pull shingles apart and cause issues that rain never could.

Stay vigilant and keep an eye on your roof, even in this season when you tend to ignore it more than not. If you have any questions about your roof, windows, insulation, siding or gutters during this season, be sure to give the Pros a call at 888-776-1998 or visit the estimates page to schedule an appointment.