There’s no question that Northern Colorado experiences some intense winters with harsh winds, heavy snowfall, and extreme temperatures. Even though our homes and roofing systems are designed to withstand these conditions, they aren’t perfect. Over time, when a winter storm is bad enough, or conditions are bad enough, damage can occur.
Colorado is heading into another winter season, so while you may have your winter coat, hats, and gloves ready to go, is your roof protected? And do you know what potential problems to look out for?
Here are some of the biggest roofing issues that your roof may face this winter, and what to do about them.
Ice dams form when snow on the roof melts, the water flows to the edge of the roof where it refreezes. The frozen water then acts like a dam, causing any additional water to back up into the shingles or potentially into the attic. When ice dams get bad enough they can cause significant damage to the roofing system, the surrounding gutters, and even water damage inside your home.
To prevent ice dams from forming, you need to prevent the snow from melting in the first place, unless it melts naturally of course. The problem occurs when the snow melts from heat within the attic. To ensure the attic doesn’t get too warm, installing proper ventilation in the roofing system and insulation in the attic floor will keep the space cool and air circulating.
Leaks Around Flashing
Flashing is the material that is installed at the seams of the roof – around chimneys, for example. The thin metal strip works to prevent water from seeping below the shingles. But heavy snow or strong winds can cause the flashing to start to pull away from the roof. Even a small opening can be big enough to allow water in, and it doesn’t take much water for issues to develop.
Inspecting the flashing material for damage is an important part of a comprehensive roofing inspection. A roofing contractor will look for signs of wear and tear and can fix the problem before anything more serious happens.
Even though they have nothing to do with the actual roofing system, tree limbs can pose a serious threat to your roof, and in a variety of ways. If a tree’s branches are hanging over your roof, an intense wind or lightning strike could cause it to fall and land on your property. Not only that, but the debris from the tree can clog your gutters.
You don’t necessarily have to cut down a tree or a tree branch that is hanging over the roof, but it’s definitely worth while trimming the tree back or at least keeping an eye out if there is heavy snowfall. Snow, especially when it’s wet and heavy snow, can put a lot of weight and strain on tree branches.
Freezing gutters is a problem that extends from when ice dams form on your roof. If water flows off the roof and freezes inside the gutters, it can cause them to crack, break, or pull away from the roof. This allows water to flow down the siding of the house and pool around the foundation, rather than being directed away from the house.
The solution for freezing gutters is the same as for ice dams – insulation and ventilation. If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can install heated coils around the edge of the roof to prevent water from freezing. But this isn’t a long-term solution and a roofer should inspect the roof to find the best course of action.
The weight of snow depends on a lot on the moisture content, but as a general rule of thumb, one inch of snow fall weighs around one pound per square foot. So, when Northern Colorado gets a foot of snow, that could be around 12 pounds of snow in just one square foot. If your roof is 2,000 square feet, that’s 24,000 pounds of snow on your roof! Roofs are designed to withstand around 20 pounds of snow per square foot, so no need to run out and start pulling snow from your roof, but it is important to keep in mind that snow itself can be dangerous.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to prevent heavy snowfall, but what you can do is get a regular roof inspection to ensure that the roof is sturdy and strong.
Contact Schroeder Roofing For Your Next Roof Inspection
Winters can be intense in Northern Colorado, but with the roofers at Schroeder on your side, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home is safe. If you’re concerned about the health of your roof heading into winter, don’t hesitate to reach out. We offer comprehensive roofing inspections and quality repairs throughout Loveland, Fort Collins, and the greater Northern Colorado area.