Cold weather has set in in NW Colorado, and we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about winter roofing issues. The roof is all that stands between your family and the outside elements and so, especially in the winter, there is nothing more important on a house than good roofing. We have put together a list of some common winter roofing problems and how to prevent or solve them. Remember, winter roofs can be slippery and dangerous. If you cannot easily solve your roofing issue, please call us for help.
Roofing Problem #1: Ice Dams
In the wintertime, ice dams are probably the most common roofing problem facing homeowners. An ice dam is a build-up of ice on the roof or under the shingles. The ice forms a dam, causing melted water to back up under the shingles instead of running down off the roof. When the water backs up under the shingles, inside leaking may occur. If you notice leaking, you should call a professional right away. Do not attempt to remove the ice dam with a shovel or pick, as you are very likely to damage your roof.
Ice dams are the result of several factors all working at the same time. They include:
- Inadequate ceiling insulation
- Poor soffit and ridge vent ventilation
- Cold temperatures
- Sunny days
The Steamboat area is well-known for its ice dam problems (particularly later in winter) because we have many cold nights, where ice forms, followed by warmer, sunshine-filled days, where the roof ice melts. This cycle of freezing and melting is conducive for ice dam formation. If you are experiencing problems with ice dams, the professional roofers at Mid Atlantic Contracting will evaluate your home and make recommendations for solving this problem once and for all, including installing attic ventilation systems, sealing air leaks between your roof and attic, increasing roofing insulation, and/or ensuring that your ceiling is air tight.
Roofing Problem #2: Icicles and Gutters
Because we have many winter days where temperatures hover around freezing or much colder, icicles are also a common roofing problem in the NW Colorado region. The sun melts the snow on the hot roof, causing it to drip over the eaves, where it then becomes cold enough to freeze into beautiful, but dangerous, icicles.
Icicles are hazardous in two ways—first, they can break and fall onto people, pets, and cars. Second, their heavy weight can cause major gutter and roofing damage. You can prevent gutter damage by cleaning your gutters in the fall, so that a build-up of heavy, frozen leaves do not cause your gutters to tear off. Another way to prevent icicles is by sweeping snow off your roof and out of your gutters and downspouts after snowstorms. It is very dangerous to go up on the roof during the winter, so please call our insured professionals to do it for you. If you have recurring problems with icicles, an one of our expert roofers will be happy to evaluate your house and find a solution. We can repair broken or torn gutters and install gutter covers to prevent future problems.
Roofing Problem #3: Condensation
Condensation is also a common winter roofing issue. Condensation occurs when warm, moist air hits a cold surface, such as warm air from your house’s interior hitting the bottom side of the cold roof deck. Your condensation problem can be solved either by installing a vapor retarder at the ceiling level, which will trap the warm air and prevent from hitting the bottom of the roof deck, or by improving air flow by installing a ventilation system.