In spite of a mild winter, winter weather in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region is usually tough on your home in general, but more often, your roof will experience more damage than any other part of your house. This damage can be attributed to specific elements of winter weather, each of which is liable to harm your roofing in a variety of ways.
During the winter months, your roof will fall victim to assorted amounts of wind, snow, ice, and continual freeze-thaw conditions. Whether it’s ice dams, heavy snow accumulation, incorrect snow removal practices, or water damage from freeze-thaws, the mixture of these elements over the course of the winter unavoidably wears on your roof.
Recognizing what these hazards are and how to reduce the risk can save you money by avoiding costly repairs.
Don’t allow storm damage to linger, potentially leaving you with a higher repair bill at the end of the day. Read on to learn how different weather conditions can affect your roof.
And don’t forget to find a reliable Pittsburgh roofing contractor such as Schultheis Brothers to help clean up, repair and report claims after any significant signs of damage appear after a severe winter weather event.
Wind damage is a major source of roof damage
One major influence in possible roof damage results from high winds. Heavy winds, which are common during the winter season, can have a damaging effect on the life of your roof. Some of the hardier windstorms can result in shingles being ripped off, loosened, or broken. The wind also frequently tears off or undoes flashing, and it’s especially hard on a roof’s ridges and rakes, which are more exposed to wind stream.
One defense against wind damage is to invest in a high-quality shingle with a warranty on wind damage. This will be a failsafe approach in the event of any damage incurred from the winter weather.
Another way to be ready is to have a reliable roofing contractor inspect your roof and fix any problem areas on your roof before the season hits. (Schultheis Brothers, a leading roofing contractor in the Pittsburgh area, can provide a free, no-obligation roof inspection for anyone in need of it.)
Your roofing company might also suggest modern shingles constructed with built-in nail strips and other unique features. These state-of-the-art systems fasten each shingle to your roof, stabilizing the structure in the event of strong winds.
Lastly, a final line of defense in preparing for high winds is to have a tree-trimming service get rid of any overhanging or dead branches from your roof that could break off and result in damage.
Hailstorms are uncommon but destructive
As uncommon as hail is, it’s one of the biggest sources of high-cost roof damage. Those wild, sometimes golf-ball-sized chunks of solid icy snow that fly down instigate a variety of problems for property owners. Did you know that hailstorms are generally the main reason homeowners file insurance claims in the U.S., as they often deliver significant damage to the roofing, siding, windows, doors, and more?
You really can’t stop hail damage other than by installing heavy-duty shingles, but once it does occur, you are wise to get in touch with a dependable roofing contractor to determine the extent and severity of the damage. It’s rather important to have a professional inspection at the first sign of damage. True, a ground-level inspection can sometimes give you a sense of the roof damage after a hailstorm, but it probably isn’t enough to make sure that the integrity of the roof isn’t compromised. After all, hailstones can dislodge the protective granules of shingles. And once the underlying mat is uncovered, shingles are more susceptible to damage.
Also, if hail or wind damage to the roof is simply ignored, even a small problem can lead to leaks, ice dams, mold or even electrical issues down the road.
After having your roof inspected, if it needs repair or even a new roof, it’s essential that you use the services of a top-notch professional roofing contractor from the get-go. Your chosen contractor will recommend which materials are best suited for your roof since each house’s requirements will be different.
If you’re in need of a professional roofing contractor, why choose Pittsburgh-based Schultheis Brothers? Let’s face it, your roof is an essential part of your home and the specialists at Schultheis Brothers know precisely how to handle the issues caused by hail damage.
Snow damage can still mount up in our region
Snow damage is most common in two forms, snow buildup, and incorrect snow removal. While not as huge a concern as in other regions of the country, snow can still mount up well over the load-bearing capacity of the roof, leading to bowed ceilings, creaks, cracks above windows and doors, and in the worst case, a roof collapse.
To avoid this, it’s important to correctly remove the mass of snow from your roof.
Unfortunately, homeowners will accidentally trigger more issues. That’s right, many homeowners attempting to clear snow off their roofs often do more harm than good. As a prime example, using a snow shovel to remove snow from the roof can damage the shingles. Some homeowners ill-advisedly apply either rock salt or calcium chloride to melt the snow, inadvertently damaging shingles and, in some cases, even voiding any warranty for roofing repair and/or partial or complete replacement.
Thank goodness, there are companies that are able to remove heavy amounts of snow from your roof.
Moreover, you can help reduce the possibility of roof damage by having a professional contractor inspect the roof before winter to make sure it’s in sound condition and ready to handle the snow.
Ice damage can take a toll on your house
Snow piling up on your roof may at first appear harmless, even enchanting, but it can lead to extensive water damage if it’s ignored.
Your house has its own internal temperature, with warm air being distributed during the winter. This warm air naturally rises to the roof, melting the snow gathered there, which can leak into any gaps in your roof.
The melted snow will eventually re-freeze as it arrives at the roof’s edge, which over time converts into an ice dam. Such ice dams will often create long, hazardous icicles. You should look to contact professional ice dam steaming services to assure not only that your roofing materials are intact but to make certain everyone in the house is safe as well.
Similar to melting snow, any water hemmed in on your roof as the result of ice damage will freeze and thaw nonstop, creating weak spots. Furthermore, this accumulation of water can bring about substantial water damage to your drywall, ceilings, floors and other areas. Unfortunately, this is also the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow, which will lead to more issues than just damage to your home.
Luckily, this can be resolved by simply clearing the roof of snow. As we’ve mentioned, however, it’s in a homeowner’s best interest to take the necessary precautions when removing snow, as mentioned above.
For a more long-term approach, you may want to think about adding extra insulation in the attic or the topmost floor so there’s less hot air escaping the attic.
Thermal shock from freeze-thaw cycles can cause roof damage
Many homeowners forget to make allowance for the radical temperature fluctuations often found in our region. Abrupt changes in temperatures can cause the surface of your shingles to split. Shingles swell as the temperature goes up and shrivel as the mercury drops. But if the difference in temperature drop is too sudden, the resulting thermal shock can pry open cracks in a shingle’s surface.
Taking note of the signs of roof damage after severe temperature variations isn’t difficult. You simply need to inspect your existing roofing structure for typical signs of wear, including loose shingle granules, peeling shingle products, detached shingles, gaps or holes in the roofing, fading, discolored shingles and failing to shingle around chimneys.
After a roofing contractor estimates the extent of the damage to your roof, they can help find reliable solutions that match your shingle and roofing needs. Schedule a meeting with Schultheis Brothers to deal with the results of major temperature changes.
The risks of freezing rain cannot be overlooked
Rain is a double threat. Driving rains are not unusual in winter storms and can pound a roof with the same damaging force as winds. They also possess the danger of ice waiting to happen. The water driven with storm-level strength can find its way into any chink in a roof’s armor if it doesn’t tear a couple of new ones itself.
Before homeowners realize it, they could discover their attic filled with inches of freezing water that brings the further menace of mold, mildew, and damage to interior electrics. Leaks can also harm insulation, strip paint, and damage drywall. The interior wood beneath a roof is also quite at risk of winter storm leaks. Roof support beams can deteriorate over time, causing them to warp and boost the odds of structural failure.
Don’t be alarmed if rain has wound its way through your roof. There are some home tricks that can do some preventative good. For example, it may seem counterproductive, but in an emergency, punching an additional tiny hole in the ceiling’s drywall will permit more water to come running through. This hastens the drainage and helps avoid further damage before you can contact a roofing specialist to resolve the issue.
Four areas to check for signs of roof damage at your home
Okay, you just went through a wild winter storm. Where should you look to see if it produced any damage to your roof?
- Total roof structure. Heavy snow and ice can gather swiftly atop your roof, generating plenty of weight that pushes down and locates weak spots. This turns out to be more common as your roof shingles grow older, and shows up as a sagging roof or even a cave-in.
- Roofing shingles. Aging roof shingles, which are certainly commonplace on older homes in the Pittsburgh region, are more vulnerable to very cold weather as temperatures plummet to freezing and below. Roof shingles can become brittle and split or break. Just a couple of inches of shingle damage can open your home to leaks, eventually causing mold buildup, wood rot, and even electrical shorts and fires.
- Attic. When roofing is impacted by snow and ice, it can lead to a surplus of moisture gathering in your attic. You may experience water stains, leaks, wet insulation mold spots, mildew odors, and wood rot. Electrical wires can even be exposed to moisture, leading to shorts and sparking fires.
- Gutter system. Snow, ice, and high winds can block your drainage system, which can cause leaks in the attic and pools around your foundation and can eventually lead to structural damage. Gutters can also be knocked out of place or damaged during a winter storm.
Having roofing problems?
You can put your worries to ease by contacting the roofing specialists at Pittsburgh-based Schultheis Brothers. Their team of professionals can provide any assistance you may require, from roof inspections to roof repair and replacement. Don’t wait till it’s too late.