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What Can You Do To Stop Winter Roof Leaks?

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The harsh winter elements can damage the roof on your home faster than you might think. This past winter, did you notice any leaks that weren't there before winter hit? Did you get the problems fixed? Why does roofing leak more in the winter than it does throughout the rest of the year? Below, you will find the reasons that winter causes roofing leaks and what you can do to find the problem to make the necessary repairs.

Why do these leaks occur during the winter?

The leaks that your roof springs during the winter are typically caused by one or a combination of four issues including:

  • Roofing material that was in poor condition before winter hits. The elements are just too much for the material to handle.
  • Freeze-thaw cycles. These repeatedly cause the metal used in roofing to expand and contract, which can cause new leaks to occur as nails are lifted or materials are damaged.
  • Ice dams in the gutter system. If the gutters are not well-maintained or are in poor condition, ice dams can cause water to back up under the shingles and cause new leaks.
  • Condensation in the attic. This is caused by warm internal air mixing with cool external air temperatures.

How can you find out what is causing your winter roofing leaks?

Start in the attic space. Take a bright light, a pen and paper and a piece of chalk with you to find and mark the leaks that you find. As you search through the attic, look for wood that is darker than the surrounding wood. The darker the wood, the longer the leak has been an issue.

Inspect the insulation for water marks or mold. The insulation will quickly absorb the moisture that leaks into the roof, so this could be a good identifier of where the leaks are generally located.

As you find the leaks, mark them with the chalk. Draw a diagram of your attic space so that you can quickly jot down where the leaks are found. This will make it easier for you to find the leaks later when you are ready to make the repairs.

Tip: A few areas to give special attention are around the chimney, the vent stacks and in the valleys of the roof. These areas are more prone to leaking than the flat surfaces of the roof.

How do you make the necessary repairs?

The areas that are leaking around the vent stacks or chimney can easily be repaired by heading up to the roof and sealing the area with roofing sealant.

Other areas of the roof will require a little more work. You may need to replace a shingle or two that has torn or has come loose. Refer to your diagram to find the areas of roofing externally that you have found internally.

Talk with a local roofing expert like A-1 Professional Roofing to discuss fixing these issues for you. Condensation, damaged shingles and failing seals around chimneys and vents can take some expertise to repair and eliminate further winter leak damage.