How to Prevent Seasonal Roof Damage: What You Can Do
Winter, spring, summer and fall each bring their own unique challenges to your home and your roof. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to show you how to protect your roof, regardless of the season.
You invested a lot in that new roof. Make sure it keeps you and your family covered for years to come.
Do you live in the Northeast or Midwest? Then you know all about snow, ice and freezing cold temperatures. East Coast residents are no strangers to severe winter weather, either.
It’s no surprise that winter weather can lead to serious roof damage. There’s not much you can do to change the weather! You can, however, protect your home from ice damming, attic condensation, heavy snow and ice and other issues.
- Ice Damming. One of the greatest threats your roof faces during the winter months is ice damming. Ice damming occurs when heat from inside your home and the warmth of the sun combine to melt snow and ice on your roof.This meltwater flows to the edges of your roof, where it refreezes, creating a dam that prevents more meltwater from running off. Icicles (sometimes dangerously big ones) can begin to form.These dangling icicles can tear down gutters, eaves and shingles. The water back-up can sneak into tiny cracks in your shingle surface or the spots torn loose by icicles. The water then freezes and expands, causing more trouble for your whole roof system. Ice dams can damage your roof, attic and the interior walls of your home.
What can you do? A properly vented roof is the best defense against ice damming. Exhaust vents, like ridge vents, allow warm, moist air to escape your attic while intake vents enable cool air to enter. A cooler attic means less snow and ice melt, which helps prevent damming.
- Attic condensation. A properly vented roof can also help guard against roof damage caused by attic condensation. When snow, ice and water build up on your roof, the warm air rising through your house can hit that cold roof deck in your attic and turn into moisture. This may lead to wood rot, which compromises your roof from the inside out.
What can you do? Make sure your attic is properly vented. Venting allows warm air to escape the house without reverting back into a liquid. Plug any insulation leaks on your attic floor. Check appliances, plumbing and dehumidifiers that may not be functioning at 100%.
- Meltwater runoff. Throughout the winter, ice and snow can form on your roof and then melt several times over. This means you may have standing or running water on your roof over and over again. Given time, water can — and will — find the slightest cracks or openings in the roof surface, and begin the process of undermining your roof.
What can you do? Underlayment provides an added water resistant or waterproof barrier that keeps thawing ice from damaging the roof deck underneath. Winterguard, for example, is a sticky, elastic asphalt polymer that seals around nails driven through it. Roofers apply underlayment at vulnerable areas, like the edges of your roof or seams where water from melting ice is most likely to penetrate.
Remember: Heavy snow and ice can stress your roof and lead to leaks or even a sagging ceiling. Before winter begins, we recommend scheduling a roof consultation with us so we can assess your Long Roofing roof.
- The sun is not your roof’s friend. Your roof is pretty tough, but it isn’t immune to the sun’s heat and damaging UV rays. That red-hot summer sun transfers heat into your attic.The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) notes that the temperature inside your attic can be nearly 65% warmer than the temperature outdoors. Without proper ventilation, your attic or crawlspace can get up to 140 degrees on a 100 degree day. Combined with the rooftop temperature on that same 100 degree day reaching up to 170 degrees, you can literally cook your shingles.
This heat buildup in your attic can cause serious roof damage. Shingles may deteriorate rapidly from the inside out. The asphalt in your shingles can start to degrade, making them brittle. Brittle shingles can crack, and cracks are a direct route for water to infiltrate your roof. If we’re learning one thing in this post today, it’s that water can ruin everything.
What can you do? The same exhaust and intake vents that help your roof in the winter can save your roof during the summer. Excess heat escapes through the ridge vents, while cooler air enters through the edge vents, causing attic temperatures to go down. Excess moisture that rises with heat is also expelled. If not vented out, this moisture can cause serious roof damage by allowing mold to grow, rotting your roof from the inside out.
Quality asphalt shingles are made to withstand the sun’s damaging UV rays. Shingles are made up of several functional layers: backsurfacing, asphalt, a fiberglass basemat, and granules. The opaque, UV-resistant granules that give shingles their color are the primary defense against UV damage. Usually made of mineral, brick or ceramic, these granules keep the sun’s rays from reaching the asphalt underneath.
Spring and Fall
Howling wind, sheets of rain, and rolling thunder — a good spring storm can shake you right out of bed in the middle of the night.
Fall storms may not be quite as severe, but there can still be a lot of rain, debris, and wind as temperatures change and leaves (and sometimes branches) fall from the trees.
Wintry conditions can also sneak into the mix during the fall, creating a lot of anxiety for homeowners who already aren’t sure if their roof can handle another run through the calendar.
- Wind and rain. Wind can tear roofing materials right off of your home. On average, East Coast residents in the southern East Coast region can expect an average of 12 named storms each year, up to nine of which can become hurricanes. Of those nine, as many as four may be major hurricanes.
Boston is considered America’s overall windiest city, with average wind speeds of 12.3 miles per hour. Boston also is the windiest city in the U.S., on average, in the months of September, October, November, December and February. Long Roofing has shingles rated up to 130 mph wind gusts.
Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Md. each get 40 or more inches of rain each year, with 114 and 116 days of precipitation annually, respectively.What can I do? Quality roofing material, like asphalt shingles, flashing, fiberglass underlayment, and drip edge all work to keep water off your roof and out of your home. Asphalt starter shingles are specially designed to resist tear-off from wind, as well. A superior sealant on the underside of starter shingles keeps them in place at the edges of your roof, where shingle application starts and wind forces are typically greatest.
Drip edge is a thin, narrow, non-porous strip of sheet metal that is bent over the outside edges of your roof. It essentially wraps the edge of your roof decking in a protective layer. Roofers install drip edge over the underlayment at the rakes to prevent wind and rain from getting under the rough edge of the shingle.
The drip edge is installed under the underlayment at the eaves, where it’s an added layer of defense against sitting water, such as from ice dams or clogged gutters.
Flashing keeps water flowing at the places where the roof meets a wall, like the base of a chimney, a porch or a dormer. These eaves and valleys are the places where your roof is most vulnerable to water penetration.
Underlayment is the last line of water defense. Like winter, this waterproof or water-resistant layer applied under your shingles keeps your roof decking dry.
- Hail Storms, Falling Trees, and Excess Debris. Hail storms are one of the biggest threats to your roof during the spring and fall months. These pellets of frozen rain can cause severe damage to your shingles and flashing.
The plains states — Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming — make up what is called “hail alley,” home to the most hailstorms in the United States. States across the Midwest and Southeast also get their share of hail, as well.
Missing granules and cracks in shingles, in addition to dents in flashing, metal vents, and metal in roof valleys, are all sure signs of roof damage caused by hail and the heavy winds that can accompany hail.
What can I do? The best way to prevent against roof damage caused by hail and winds? Use high-quality roofing materials. Hire a tree cutter to trim trees near your home before storm seasons, too. This helps prevent against potential roof damage caused by falling trees and excess debris.
Is your home at risk for seasonal roof damage?
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