Protecting your roof from winter and severe weather

by: Kirsten Land on December 19th, 2017 about Roofing Advice

In 2010, we had an extremely severe winter, and we noticed something when spring arrived. Several homeowners who hadn’t had problems in previous winters called to report leaks and damage to their roofs. What had happened? In prolonged, severe winter weather, snow accumulation can lead to ice dams and create some serious problems for your roof. But they aren’t the only type of severe weather that can compromise shingles.

Ice dams

In the winter as snow accumulates on a roof, the lower layers of the snow pack will usually slowly melt during the day. A constant runoff of meltwater comes off the roof and drains into the gutters. At night when temperatures drop, that meltwater will freeze again.

Eventually, this small-scale glacier will fill the gutter and act as a dam to the draining meltwater. With nowhere to drain, the water backs up and seeps beneath shingles, where it can breach the roof and cause leaks and damage. While gutters may make it easier for an ice dam to start, large ice dams can occur on roofs with no gutters. Winter snows, however, aren’t the only hazards your roof faces.

Sideways rain

Another way nature can compromise shingles is when horizontal wind gusts blow rain sideways. The wind can lift the front edge of the shingle and spray the rain beneath it. Like meltwater from ice dams, this can lead to damage on the exterior and interior of your house.

Shielding your roof

After a harsh winter in 2010, we researched how we could better protect roofs from extreme weather conditions. We began experimenting with a product called Grace Ice & Water Shield®. It’s a self-adhering membrane that we install between the roof and the shingle that shields the roof with two waterproofing materials: rubberized asphalt and high-density, cross-laminated polyethylene film.

Since that time, we’ve been installing Grace Ice & Water Shield® as a value-add to the roofs we replaced. A few winters later, conditions were severe enough for large ice dams to form again. This time, the following spring, we didn’t receive many calls from our clients about leaks. The shield had lived up to its name by adding an extra layer of protection of the homeowners.

This winter, before the heavy snows hit, call your trusted roofer to come and assess your roof and discuss whether an ice and water shield is a good option for your home.

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How a roof maintenance program can save you money

by: Kirsten Land on December 5th, 2017 about Residential Roofing

When considering whether to invest in a roof maintenance program, many homeowners think they don’t need it because they don’t have any tree limbs near their roof. But tree limbs aren’t the only roof hazards that can cause major problems. When it comes to roof maintenance, having an expert set of eyes regularly on your roof can save you lots of money.

The case of the mysterious gutter flood

One of our clients who had enrolled in our maintenance program called us to come inspect their roof. Their gutters were clogged and creating waterfalls with every heavy rainstorm, which was flooding their storm shelter. They thought new gutters might be necessary.

When we went to the house, we couldn’t find anything wrong at first. There were no trees near the roof. The gutters had no visible debris in them, and they weren’t cracked or leaking. We eventually found the culprit: an empty 20-ounce Dr. Pepper bottle wedged in the downspout. Once we removed the bottle, the gutters worked as they should.

Drones, nests, and other random hazards

Dr. Pepper bottles aren’t the only strange things we’ve found clogging gutters. This year, we found a crashed drone in a downspout. We’ve also come across various animal nests and creatures. Last year, we spooked a copperhead from a downspout.

Toys and tennis balls also find their way into gutters on a regular basis. And when fireworks go up, sometimes their remains come down into gutters.

Whether by human hands, high winds, or creatures, a variety of debris can block your gutters. A regular roof maintenance program will, however, help your gutters stay clear.

Avoiding insurance problems

In another instance, we were called to inspect a roof that was denied insurance until some identified issues were fixed: loose nails and cracked seals and vent boots. If this homeowner had a roof maintenance program, those issues could have been spotted and easily fixed before they delayed insurance coverage.

Once we were there to repair the nails and seals, we discovered that the roof didn’t have adequate ventilation. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, poor ventilation can lead to many problems with your roof. It’s one more thing that a roof maintenance program would’ve identified before it could cause problems.

Roof maintenance is similar to car maintenance

Think of your roof as you would think of your vehicle. You give your car regular maintenance to prevent small problems from becoming bigger problems: oil changes, fluid checks, tune ups, air filter changes-the list goes on. If you don’t spend $30 to change your oil today, you’ll end up spending thousands on a new engine tomorrow.

If you treat your roof with the same level of care and caution, you can help it last longer and save yourself money over time.

Posted in Residential Roofing       Comments: None

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