Snow and ice, freezing and thawing apply pressure to every roof in Madison WI and the surrounding area. Left unchecked, these whims of nature can lead to costly roof repair. A timely roof inspection can catch a potential problem while fixing it is easier and cheaper.
The buildup of heavy ice on gutters is an obvious problem that gets plenty of attention. As is a heavy load of snow, especially on flat roofs. But there are less obvious, but equally serious concerns:
• Condensation — When warm air from under the roof meets a cold surface, there’s condensation. A poorly insulated attic promotes condensation which can lead to mold, mildew and damage to the interior structures and underside of the roof. A roof inspection can catch roof vents that are blocked by snow or ice dams.
- Flashing Leaks — Flashing is the metal placed along the front edge, corners and ridges on the roof around chimneys, skylights, vents, etc. If not installed properly, damaged by a storm or infiltrated by the pressure of ice, these are targets for leaks. Once the material pulls away from the roof or the structure water will find a way in – and the freeze, thaw cycle makes it worse.
- Wind Damage — In a typical Madison WI winter, a roof is snow covered for a while, then bare, then more snow. When the next storm comes, high winds can lift shingles and drive snow and ice underneath. The shingles may or may not stay in place but the roof is open to damage. A roof inspection as soon as the roof in clear in the spring can catch small problems before spring storms lead to more damage.
- Falling Debris — Nearby trees can fall victim to winter storms and limbs of various sizes can wind up on your roof. And, overhanging limbs, burdened by heavy snow or ice, can scrape on the surface. This debris can dislodge shingles and serious damage gutters. A roof inspection can tag branches that must be trimmed in the spring.
- Icicles — A collection of icicles may look artistic, for a while, but they are heavy and dangerous. Every winter dozens of people and pets are seriously injured by ice falling from gutters and roofs. Keeping gutters clear of debris will help them drain and keep icicles from forming and a visual inspection of the gutter will tell you where your attention is needed. Too much ice can pull gutters loose from the roof. They’ll sag and eventually become a danger, too. A winter time roof inspection can spot these movements early when they can be repaired before getting out of hand.
Wintertime Roof Inspection Makes Sense
Being aware of the potential for winter weather to cause problems on your roof – inside and out – is a first step to reducing roof repair costs. Among the most often cited problems in Wisconsin is easy to recognize with a roof inspection from the front lawn – a load of heavy, wet snow on the roof. Snow becomes compacted by the freeze/thaw cycle, especially in the spring when there’s more daytime melting. And compacted snow absorbs the rain that often accompanies springtime. A relatively benign looking coverage of snow can be stressing the roof and structures beneath. Especially at risk are older homes and buildings with less slope – so melting snow doesn’t run off as fast.
Snow-covered plumbing vents can lead to poor drainage inside the home and even trap sewer gases in the building.
A deep layer of snow can be removed in two ways – Mother Nature, or a homeowner with a shovel or roof rake. Mother Nature’s approach is best. Manual removal of the snow has dangers of its own – not the least of which is the risk of falling from the roof or ladder or raking ice onto yourself or others. Trying to remove snow can also cause damage to shingles, gutters and structure where leaks will form later.
If your roof collects deep snow it’s best to consult a roofing professional for the best thoughts on how to reduce the risk – of damage to the home and to you.
Noises – Is The Roof In Danger?
In very cold weather all building materials literally move and shift. Your roof can creak, crack or even boom and crash. The flatter the roof, the more likely you’ll hear ice shifting, cracking or breaking. In most cases, the building materials are created to take these dynamic changes into account and when installed correctly the noises in the attic don’t mean the roof is in danger. Still, a periodic roof inspection from within the attic can catch ventilation problems before a roof repair is warranted.
Tap Our Roof Inspection Experience
When it’s time to evaluate your home’s roof for winter damage, it’s time to tap the skills of the professionals at Sims Exteriors & Remodeling. Call the team serving greater Dane County, including Middleton, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Oregon Verona, McFarland, Stoughton, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie and Deforest.
Wisconsin winters are hard of your roof. Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us to schedule a complete roof inspection and, if necessary, roof repair in your Madison WI home.