Winter is the season your roof faces its biggest challenge. The combination of cold and moisture may cause damage to roofs – even well-maintained ones. Preparation is crucial to avoid winter leaks, and identifying the source of winter roof leaks is crucial in preserving your roof throughout this harsh season.
But from where do roof leaks come?
Typical Sources of Roof Leaks
Winter roof leaks come from various sources. Here are some of them:
Ice dams are melted snow that freezes again, creating a hard dam that traps water and potentially causes leaks. These solid blocks of ice occur because of poor attic insulation and ventilation, so make sure your attic is sealed well to prevent ice dams from forming.
Roof Shingle Damage
Cracking, splitting and other types of asphalt shingle damage can lead to leaks inside your attic. Cracks happen because your shingles go through expansion and contraction due to temperature changes, while splits occur because the asphalt shingle’s joints shrink as the roof ages.
Clogged gutters will trap snow and cause backflow during winter. Over time, debris and leaves will block the gutters and prevent the flow of melted snow during winter. Regularly cleaning your gutter system by hiring roofing experts will prevent this from happening. Be sure to get this done before winter arrives.
Dripping or Leaking Bathroom Fans
Dripping or leaking bathroom fans occur due to moisture inside the fan or vent hose. The water inside the vent freezes during winter and melts in the spring, giving it the appearance of a roof leak near your fan. Nonetheless, ask a roofer to check for roof leaks if the fan is dripping.
Damaged flashing is another major cause of winter roof leaks. Flashing that has suffered from cracks or physical damage must be replaced immediately. Flashing damage typically requires a trained eye to be spotted, so hire a qualified roofing company to inspect it for you.
Skylights may seem to leak during winter, but this isn’t usually the case. In most instances, your skylight is dripping due to excess moisture inside your home. Homes with humidifiers may also cause moisture droplets to form on the skylight, so ensure your HVAC is set to lower temperatures during cold days.
Plumbing fixtures, water supply and drain lines are common culprits behind winter roof leaks. Some plumbing issues can cause ceiling leaks in upper-floor bathrooms. That said, check for overflowing shower pans and cracks or issues in the bathtub and toilet caulking. Hire a plumber to inspect worn-out wax rings that need replacement around the toilets.
Attic Frost and Condensation
Attic frost and condensation can occur during winter if there is poor ventilation, insulation and sealing. It occurs because warm air meets the winter-frozen roof deck, creating frost in the area. Attic frost will condensate during spring and flow above the wooden components of the attic. If you spot any frost on the decking’s underside, you must hire a roofer to look into and improve your attic ventilation.
How to Prevent Winter Roof Leaks
Knowing the typical sources of winter roof leaks will help you schedule timely professional services. But you can also prevent winter roof leaks by regularly doing the following:
Hire a Roofing Contractor for Inspections
A yearly inspection before winter allows you to have a comprehensive report on the current condition of your roofing system. Your roofing contractor can conduct minor repairs and brief you on possible issues that could happen once winter arrives. Having regular inspections can help prolong your roof’s lifespan, too.
Observe Vulnerable Areas
Your roof has plenty of vulnerable areas where winter leaks can infiltrate. These include your chimney, skylights, plumbing vents and other roof structures. Over time, their watertight seals will deteriorate and cause leaks. Local roofing companies can point out how these structures may cause winter roof leaks and ways to secure them before winter.
Schedule Gutter Cleaning
During roof maintenance, roofers also remove the leaves and debris in your gutters. You can also have them evaluate your gutter system if it’s old and consider installing barriers to keep insects and small animals from accessing it.
Install a Drip Edge
Eaves can be a source of leaks and wood rot. Installing a drip edge will protect your fascia and interior from damage.
Check for Weak Areas
Weak shingles and other layers of roofing material will need replacement or repairs to preserve your roof’s integrity. Hire local roofing companies to do this for you.
Inspect Your Attic
Humidity inside the attic can cause moisture to freeze, cause condensation and grow mold. Your hired roofers can check for improper ventilation, mold growth, soaked and tattered insulation, and other issues that can evolve into bigger problems over time.
The Elements of a Good Attic Ventilation System
Attic ventilation and insulation go hand in hand. Ask your roofer if you’ll need active ventilation to improve your roof’s exhaust and air intake. One square foot of ventilation per 300 cubic feet of attic space is essential in building a ventilation system. Then, you’ll need an equal number of intake and exhaust vents to provide proper airflow.
Parts of an Attic Ventilation System
- Intake vents: These move air into the attic. They can be gable vents installed at the roof peak’s highest point, under-eave vents situated under your roof eaves or rafter vents that aid internal circulation.
- Ridge vents: Ridge vents are installed along the ridge of your roof. They barely impact your roof aesthetic and provides fresh air.
- Turbine vents: These have small fans that turn with the breeze, removing warm air from your attic.
- Attic ventilation fans: Ventilation fans draw in cool air from outside and push out warm air. These are powered solutions that will increase your roofing costs.
Need a reliable roofing new construction company to help with your winter roof leak troubles? Let Ritco Group, Inc. help you. Our roofing team is always ready to deliver the best services. Call us today at (931) 381-0175, or fill out this contact form to get an estimate. We proudly serve clients in Columbia, Brentwood and Franklin, TN.