Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
Shingle damage. Ice dams. Broken gutters. These are just some of the things we can look forward to every winter. Fortunately, it's not too late to protect your home against winter roof damage this season and for many years to come! By following the simple steps outlined below, you can protect your house from damage, significantly lower your energy bill, and get increased peace of mind.
Your gutter system really takes a beating during winter months. Accumulated debris can weigh down your gutters and cause damage to the gutter system itself, as well at your home's trim and siding. Gutters can crack, split, or even completely dislodge with the additional weight of winter's snow and ice. Clogged, ineffective gutter systems can also back up and flood roof surfaces, causing ice dams, dangerous icicles, and leaks to the interior of your home. A clean, efficient gutter system properly carries water runoff and diverts it away from your house. Completing this step will help protect your home both inside and out!
Leaves, branches and even children's toys can clog gutters or damage shingles on your home. Static debris on your home's shingles can also retain moisture and reduce the life of your shingles. Keep an eye on trees that may have grown close to your roof. Even if a branch gently brushes the shingles, gutters, or trim on your home, the cumulative effect of the constant back-and-forth motion can quickly wear away roofing material and even soft aluminum trim. The result can lead to damage and possible water infiltration.
Similar to cracks on asphalt roads, small cracks and fissures in your shingles can quickly become large "pot holes" from the effects of freezing and thawing. Address any possible shingle damage before it leads to larger problems and potentially more expensive repair costs. If you have one of those random "tea stains" on the ceiling of a room in your home - the kind that we sometimes ignore because "it hasn't leaked since...," that can be an indication of a potentially larger problem if left unchecked.
Every roof system has caulk joints. It could be a chimney counter-flashing or a previous repair, or maybe just a few sealed nail heads where your ridge shingles terminate. A flexible sealant is an important component of your roof system and helps keep the water from your living spaces. However, many flexible sealants need maintenance. Some shrink, some crack, and some just weren't installed very well when the roof was installed. Have a professional inspect the roof and use a quality sealant that stays flexible and effective. Seal all exposed nail heads, any apparent shingle damage and chimney flashings. Also, be sure to inspect and repair any damaged pipe flashings. The neoprene seals on most standard flashing collars are a maintenance item that only lasts a few years before they shrink and crack and cause leaks.
One of the most common causes of ice dams - one that can potentially lead to leaks and interior damage of your home - is an improperly-insulated attic space. If you can see your ceiling joists through the insulation in your attic, chances are your home is under-insulated. Many homes fall far short of the Department of Energy's recommendation of adequate attic insulation. An improperly-insulated attic space can lose much of your home's heat through the roof decking surface. This, in turn, melts the snow on the roof. The water from the melted snow then runs to the gutter ends of the slope, only to re-freeze or be blocked from additional snow and ice. The water has nowhere else to go, other than flood back up the roof surface and enter the home. This can also create dangerous icicles that can damage lower roof slopes, gutters, or even injure an unsuspecting visitor below. A properly-insulated attic space reduces energy loss and allows the roof surface to melt more evenly, thus reducing the likelihood of forming ice dams and icicles. Homes in greater Philadelphia are highly susceptible to winter roof damage. Addressing these important steps as soon as possible will not only make your home warmer and more comfortable this winter, it will also protect your house from much larger, costlier problems. Don't wait another second to protect your home! Click to get in touch with Summit Roofing & Siding today to schedule an all-inclusive roof inspection!