Canadian winters can see temperatures fluctuate between freezing cold to mild and warm. The results can be uneven freezes and thaws that can cause significant damage to your roof.
Roof leaks in winter can frequently happen as ice causes eavestroughs to separate from the house or crack, causing water to run back into the home. This can lead to severe and expensive damage to the exterior and interior of your home. This can leave you asking yourself how to fix a leaking roof in winter?
To make fixing a leaking roof in winter easier, let’s review some of the most common causes and ways you can prevent a winter leak before it starts.
Sources of Winter Roof Leaks
A roof leaking in winter can be the result of several factors. This is why it is important to regularly inspect your roof while the weather is still warm to identify any weaknesses in the structure or to make any repairs to both the roof or eavestrough to prevent water from building up.
Many roof leaks are the result of secondary factors rather than a hole in the roof itself. Here are some of the most common causes of roof leaking in winter.
Animals And Pests
Animals want to be warm during the winter just as much as you do. Towards the end of the fall, animals begin looking for a place to call home during the cold winter months. Holes in your roof or exterior can make perfect entry ways for pests looking to build a safe hideaway.
The most common pets to invade homes during the winter include:
- Mice and rats
If you are hearing noises in your walls or are noticing signs of entry such as chewing marks, discarded food or animal waste around your home, it is time to do a thorough inspection of the exterior of your home to identify a point of entry. Plug any holes after ensuring animals have been removed. You do not want to plug a hole while the animal is inside as this can lead them to cause further damage as they look for an escape or may cause them to perish leaving behind unpleasant smells and possibly attracting even more pests.
Snow and Ice
Homes with flat roofs are most susceptible to snow and ice build up. The pressure from snow piling up on your roof can cause it to weaken or crack causing your roof to leak.
If you notice a snow build up on your roof, use a shovel or long rake to remove it. Remember to never climb onto a sloped roof without the proper equipment. If the job is too big, bring in a professional who can safely remove snow build up.
Unlike snow and ice build up, ice dams are caused when melting and refreezing occurs creating a build up of ice where water can collect such as eavestroughs and roof edges. These are often the result of poor insulation and ventilation in the roof which causes pockets of warm air to form causing melting.
Water then backs up into your home through cracks caused by the build up of ice. This can cause damage not only to the interior and exterior of your home but also to eavestroughs when they can no longer support the weight of the ice.
Fixing The Damage
The best way to fix damage caused by winter leaks is to do regular inspections of your roof to identify problems before they start. As mentioned earlier, start by inspecting before the snow flies to see if there are any obvious signs of leaking risk.
As the winter progresses, stay on top of potential issues such as removing ice dams or improving roof insulation.
Your roof repair expert can provide you with affordable and effective repair solutions that will prevent damage from occurring again. This can include adding the right insulation for your roof to reduce moisture and sealing any gaps or leaks.
A roofing specialist can also make any repairs to the roof structure such as fixing missing shingles or repairing eavestroughs to prevent further damage to your roof. Though you may be tempted to try and make repairs yourself, doing so in the winter can be risky. That’s why it’s always advisable to have a professional fix a roof leak.
How To Prevent Winter Roof Leaks Before They Occur
It’s easy to forget your roof when doing regular home maintenance. But it is one of the most important elements of your home and should be inspected regularly. Here are some helpful suggestions of things you can do to prevent leaks from occurring.
- To prevent water building, start by cleaning your gutters regularly or installing a gutter guard to prevent the build up of leaves and debris.
- Examine your roof for leaks, cracks or holes and have them sealed before the winter arrives.
- Improve the ventilation in your home. Many older homes were not designed to allow for heat to escape properly, leading to moisture building up and uneven melting during the winter. Check your local building codes to ensure you have the right ventilation installed to address the size of your roof.
- Do not allow animals to nest in your attic. This can cause damage to your roof, electrical system and exterior of your home.
Take the time to check your roof.. Regular inspection and maintenance of your roof can prevent costly repairs and damage later.
If you are experiencing a roof leak or think your roof may be at risk, call the professionals at Dream Roof. We can identify risk factors and make the necessary repairs to ensure your roof can withstand even the toughest winters.