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The Most Common Winter Roofing Problems

All responsible homeowners know that the quality of their roof largely determines how well their home will stand up against the elements in every season. This is especially true during the winter months when arguably your roof takes the most abuse from Mother Nature. If it’s not snow and ice accumulating and freezing, it’s the moisture runoff from the same snow and ice thawing and melting that can cause serious problems if your roof is not adequately prepared. If your roof is not up to the challenge of dealing with winter weather, it can lead to some serious damage occurring, which in turn can lead to costly repairs being necessary.

To be better prepared during these winter months, be vigilant when it comes to spotting these six red flags regarding the condition of your roof. In our experience, these are the most common problems that plague our customers here in New Jersey during the harshest days of the winter season.


Condensation of Moisture

When it’s chilly outside, you most likely have the heat turned on in your house to ward off the freezing temperatures. While this helps to make the interior of your home nice and comfortable, that warm air makes its way to your attic. When an attic space is not properly ventilated, the warm air from inside your home meets the cold air from the outside, and the result is condensation.

Moisture condensation is a quiet killer of your home’s infrastructure. When moisture collects in an improperly insulated and ventilated attic, your roof becomes prime real estate for mold and mildew formation. The only way to combat moisture condensation in your roof structure is to make sure your roof is professionally installed and adequately ventilated. Failure to have sufficient ventilation in your roof structure will lead to moisture causing extensive and expensive damage to your roof and encourage the formation of ice dams, which can drastically reduce the expected lifespan of your roof.

Flashing Failure

If you’re not familiar with flashings, they are the strips of metal that are installed along the front edge, corners, and ridges of your roof, as well as along the bases of structures like chimneys and skylights. They are designed to help keep moisture from collecting in these areas and protect them from damage. When flashings have been improperly installed, however, they may not be performing adequately enough to accomplish their intended purpose. Harsh weather can also cause flashings to fail as they take a pummeling from the elements, causing them to pull away from the roof and allow moisture to collect in areas where your roof is most vulnerable. It’s always a good practice to visually inspect your roof’s flashings about twice a year, once in the winter and again in the summer. Making sure that these important structures are being properly maintained will go a long way towards keeping your roof structure’s integrity intact.

Relentless Winds

When winter winds come whipping down from the north in the winter months they can do some serious damage to roofs. Winter gales can gain enough force to be destructive, and they can loosen or outright rip off shingles from your roof. You should regularly perform a visual inspection of your roof, especially after windy days, and check for damaged or missing shingles. Shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against winter weather, so if you notice irregularities or entirely missing sections of shingles, it’s vitally important to contact a roofing professional immediately to have those sections repaired before unnecessary damage can occur.

Troublesome Tree Limbs

If you’re fortunate enough to have beautiful trees on your property, you have the visual advantage of idyllic scenery. However, there is a drawback to these appealing features of your property, especially if said trees are large. If the trees on your property have branches that overhang your roof structure, the added weight of snow and ice can cause them to scrape and damage your roof. While this type of damage may be superficial, you start to run into some serious problems when trees start dropping limbs. To protect your home, other parts of your property, and most importantly your family, any overhanging tree limbs should be trimmed back to allow at least six feet of clearance. In addition to preventing tree limbs from damaging your house, this also acts as more of a buffer between your property and wildlife that may be using trees as an easy access point to your roof.

Ice Dam Formation

When temperatures quickly fluctuate between above and below freezing, the likelihood of ice dams forming on your roof increases. Ice dams occur when the snow and ice on the upper areas of your roof melt more quickly than the lower areas. As water from the thawing upper portion of your roof collects and re-freezes in the lower sections, an ice dam is created. As the name suggests, water can collect behind this dam, which can then leak into your roof structure through cracks or joints and cause significant damage.

Although there isn’t a 100% surefire way to eliminate ice dams from forming, there are things you can do to reduce the damage they can create. Proper insulation and attic ventilation minimize the opportunity for uneven thawing to occur, and there are also sublayers to your roof that can be laid down during installation to help reduce damage in potentially troublesome areas.

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New Jersey

Ominous Icicles

Icicles form on days that, although sunny, still have temperatures that are below freezing. While they may be picturesque and add a nice cottage vibe to your home, they can actually be potentially very dangerous to unsuspecting people and pets. Icicles usually have the opportunity to form because of underperforming or clogged gutters and downspouts. The added weight of ice can put unnecessary stress on your gutters, causing them to pull away from the roof and cause damage in the process. Icicles can be deterred by keeping your gutters free of debris before big storms hit. When the weather starts to warm up in the spring, it’s a good idea to perform some routine gutter maintenance to avoid any further problems when the rainy season arrives.

Is Your Roof Ready for Winter Weather?

Are you sure that your roof is prepared to handle the winter weather in New Jersey? For a free quote and roof assessment, contact the friendly professionals at All Weather Roofing in Farmingdale. We specialize in installing roofs that stand up to the worst that nature can throw at it. Our technicians can make repair or replacement recommendations quickly to make sure your home features superior protection from the elements. Contact us today!

Serving Farmingdale, Howell, and Beyond