Des Moines

Rapid City

Sioux Falls

Types Of Winter Roof Damage You Should Address

In Des Moines, IA winters are generally freezing, windy, and snowy. Snowpacks in this area can reach thicknesses of up to 10 inches, and snowstorms typically occur once or twice per year.

As your property’s first line of defense against the elements, your roof is susceptible to various types of damage. During winter, harsher weather conditions increase the likelihood of structural roof issues, loosening materials, and moisture damage.

In this guide, our professional Des Moines roofers at Wegner Roofing & Solar discuss the types of winter roof damage you need to address as soon as possible.

Roof Leaks Resulting From Ice Dams

Ice dams are the most common cause of shingle damage during winter. An ice dam typically forms when the roof surface around the eaves is at freezing temperature while the roof’s main surface is warming up.

As your home’s interior and attic heat up, the layer of snow on your roof will melt and start flowing down to the gutters. However, when this water flows over the cold eaves, it freezes again. As a result, an ice dam near the edge of your roof.

As an ice dam accumulates, the snowmelt cannot drain through the gutters and can flow underneath your roof shingles before freezing. The expanding water volume causes the shingles to lift, which loosens or damages these roofing materials.

Loose or damaged shingles leave your roof susceptible to leaks. When melting snow or rainwater seeps through these openings in the shingles, your roof decking may rot. You may also notice mold growth and moisture damage near your attic and ceiling.

Sealing air leaks in your attic and replacing the damaged roof shingles is the most effective way to restore this issue. Installing ice and water shields along your roof’s eaves may help to prevent ice dam build-up on your roof.

Structural Decking Damage

Roof decking is the material layer above the rafters and beneath the shingle’s underlayment. Usually, residential roof decks have an oriented strand board or plywood construction. This roofing component gives structural support to your roof and should be sturdy enough to support your shingles’ weight.

Heavy snow loads are a common cause of roof deck damage during winter. If your roof is up to code, the decking should withstand a load of up to 30 pounds per square foot of roof surface. Packed snow with a thickness of two feet is generally too heavy for the average deck and will cause the decking to break.

The best types of roofs for snow are hip and gable roofs, as they have slopes. Flat roofs are more vulnerable to these loads as there are no slopes where snow can run off.

Roof leaks due to ice dams, shingle damage, or lifted flashing can also cause decking and truss damage. Wet roof trusses will eventually rot, which can compromise the structural integrity of your entire roof.

Signs of roof deck damage include:

  • Visible roof sagging
  • Missing, curling, or buckling shingles
  • Moisture damage in your attic, including mold growth

At Wegner Roofing & Solar, we recommend a professional repair to address this type of roof damage.

Attic Condensation

If you notice moisture damage in your attic, you will likely immediately think your roof is leaking. However, if you can’t locate the leak, the issue is likely condensation build-up in your attic.

Attic condensation is a common roofing issue that mimics a roof leak and can affect all types of roofing during the colder winter months. But why does attic condensation form, and how can you address this problem?

During winter, your household generates heat through the HVAC system, cooking, hot showers, and other activities. The hot, humid air rises into your attic space, then comes into contact with the cold underside of your roof deck, where condensation forms. This effect is similar to a cold drink can that “sweats” in the summer.

Condensation can cause mold growth and moisture damage to ceilings, flooring, walls, and other wooden structures. Metal components in your attic may also rust or corrode. Even more worryingly, attic condensation can also cause roof deck rot, roof sagging, and shingle damage.

A vent inspection is the first step in addressing attic condensation. All vents should be open and unobstructed so warm and humid air can escape from your attic.

However, ventilation is not nearly as important as checking your attic insulation. Replace old, damp, or damaged attic insulation, ensuring that the warm air from your home doesn’t enter the attic to form condensation.

Flashing Damage

Roof flashing is the thin, flat metal waterproofing strips along your roof’s joints and seams. The typical residential roof has chimney flashing, valley flashing, and vent pipe flashing.

The primary function of roof flashing is to direct water away from your roof to the gutter system. However, during winter, temperature drops can cause these metal strips to contract, leaving small openings where moisture can enter your roof structure. Ice can also accumulate underneath the flashing, causing it to bend.

Schedule a roof and flashing inspection if you notice signs of a roof leak in your attic or home. A straightforward flashing replacement will resolve the issue.

Critter Damage

As temperatures drop during September, your roof will become a magnet for nesting animals, such as mice, squirrels, rats, birds, and bats. These critters typically enter roofs via soffits and vents, then use insulation materials, rotting wood, and plant debris for their nests. Rodents also gnaw on electric wiring in your roof, which can pose a fire and safety risk.

Regularly check for droppings in your attic, and contact your local pest control if you detect signs of animals. A professional repair is typically necessary to restore critter damage to fascia, soffits, decking boards, and other components.

Need a Free Estimate?

If you detect signs of winter damage, immediate action is necessary to prevent further damage to your property. At Wegner Roofing & Solar, our expert roofing team stands by to provide you with a complete, personalized repair service. Call us today to request a free estimate.

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Des Moines

Rapid City

Soiux Falls