Can Snow Damage My Roof?
Now that winter is fast approaching, many homeowners may wonder: Can snow damage my roof?
The truth is that any form of water can be harmful for roofs, but when the temperature drops below freezing, water and snow can especially be a problem.
Let's say you get a sleety rain when the temperature is hovering around 35 degrees F. When night falls, the temperature may dip to 28 degrees F. Water can get into the smallest crevices and then freeze. When it freezes, it expands. As it warms up, more water is present, making the cracks bigger. The more often this freeze-thaw happens, a great deal of moisture gets into the shingles causing them to expand and wear out. Leaks can cause water damage and potential wood rot to the wooden framing underneath.
Heavy snow can also present some unique problems. Snow accumulation on your roof causes a great deal of stress which can weaken the entire roof. Different roofs have different configurations, which can cause snow to accumulate in higher levels due to blowing and drifting. This can cause as much as five times the amount of snow in certain areas of the roof. Areas where the roof meets a solid wall, or places where there is a lower roof or awning, can cause a greater accumulation of snow.
How do homeowners know when there is too much snow for their roof to bear?
According to yellowpages.ca, it depends on your location. In heavy snow areas, roofs are made to bear heavier accumulations of snow. However, a general benchmark for residential roofs is 8 cm (20 lb.) per square foot. If the roof slope is greater than 8 cm (3 inches) for every 31 cm (12 inches) of horizontal distance, melting snow should run off adequately. However, remember that new snow falling on top of old, packed snow weighs more which may make yesterday's packed snow twice as heavy.
What is an ice dam?
Ice dams form when the accumulated ice and snow on the roof melts but then freezes all along the edges and eaves of the roof. This edge of ice keeps water from running off the roof which can cause water to find its way under the roof shingles and even into the house. Large ice dams have been known to tear the rain gutters and flashing off the roof.
What can a homeowner do to address these problems?
Investing in an inexpensive snow rake will help in snow removal from the roof. For ice dams, homeowners may be able to use a hammer and chisel to chip away at the ice to loosen it. Remember to take the proper precautions when climbing a ladder, especially in icy weather.
Keep a Good Record
Creating a tracking record of visual assessments and matching them with a baseline, possibly with photographs, will help homeowners keep track of the cumulative damage done by weather over a period of time. This benchmark will help keep track of any changes occurring.
Joye Roofing offers a free, professional roof inspection>. Once we complete our inspection checklist, we will give you an estimate on any work which may be needed. Joye Roofing Columbia has an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau, and tons of rave reviews> from past customers.
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How to make sure you are optimally covered for roof repair or replacement service
Finding out your roof has a leak or needs to be replaced can be a nightmare. The costs can be a financial burden or worse.
When facing a roof repair or replacement homeowners are hopeful some or all of the costs will be covered by their homeowners insurance policy.
Read on for helpful information regarding choosing a policy and ensuring coverage is available when/if the situation arises.
Choosing your policy
Every insurance company has different speculations and guidelines listed in their policies. Read your policy carefully before and after signing.
Common events that cause roof damage such as
- High Winds
- Fallen trees
- In Home Plumbing Malfunctions
- Foundation Shifts
are covered by some home insurance policies, and not others. Make sure you are covered for the events that are most likely in your location's weather and land makeup.
The most important thing to do is read the insurance policy carefully. Take note of the events that the policy will and will not cover.
Before deciding the extent to which your repair or replacement will be covered your insurance company will look at some basic considerations. Such as:
Find a roofer that will work with your insurance company
Make sure your roofing contractor who can give you an honest estimate of the damages in a way your insurance company will accept. Most roofing contractors have a good understanding of how insurance policies work and can assist in filing your claim. At Joye Roofing, we work with your insurance agent and adjuster to get as much covered as possible.
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And please remember we are always there for you. If you have questions give us a call at (803) 407-5569 or comment below.
What to do About Wind Damage to Your Roof
High winds can tear shingles or send them sailing off your roof. It can also curl or lift shingles, breaking the seal between them. When this happens your underlayment is exposed, leaving your roof's structure vulnerable to the elements.
Follow this short checklist after a storm to make sure your roof maintains its integrity, and to mitigate any damage it may sustain.
No matter who you choose for your roof inspection and/or roof repair, you will want to vet your vendor. Choose a roofing company that is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, and with a reputable roofing manufacturer. (Joye Roofing holds an A+ with the BBB, and we are a Preferred Contractor through Owens Corning as well as CertainTeed.)
So stay safe during a storm, and make sure you inspect and take notes promptly afterward.
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To contact us please call (803) 470-5569 or schedule a roof inspection today.
Derek Joye has been roofing homes and businesses in the Midlands for over 20 years.