Should I be worried about my roof?


Submitted a year ago
Created by
jeff acker

Mother Nature just cranked up the ice dam maker

Is my roof supposed to look like this?

I get this question a lot these days, "Should I be worried about my roof?"  

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I always give one of two possible answers, either "Yes" or "I don't know".  The answer I never give is "No"

This winter's weather has led to two major roofing concerns - heavy snow load leading to collapsing roofs, and ice dams leading to leaks and costly interior damage.

Let's start with weight.  The reality is that I don't have any way to quickly and easily judge whether the snow is too heavy for your roof, and neither does any one else.  So if you think it looks like too much snow, it probably is.  Honestly, if you are worried about it, you might as well have it shoveled - it's pretty inexpensive peace of mind, especially compared to the potential catastrophe of a roof collapse. 

Fortunately, roofs don't collapse from snow load very often around here, but why take a chance?   A couple of areas to pay particular attention to - any where that an upper roof dumps snow onto a lower roof, and any time that drifting snow has accumulated so that you have significantly more snow in one section of the roof than another.   Heavy snow loads are bad; heavy and unequally distributed snow loads are really bad!

And now, what about ice dams?  Ice dams are caused by heat escaping from inside the house, causing snow on the roof to melt.  The water runs down the roof until it gets to the eave, where it refreezes because there is no longer any heat coming up from below.  This process repeats, until it builds up a thick dam at the eave, and eventually the snow melt "backs up" behind the dam and comes in to the house.

The conditions in the Upper Valley this winter have been perfect for ice dam formation - heavy snows and a prolonged stretch of bitterly cold below freezing temps.  If you have significant ice building up on the eaves like in the picture above, you may have a problem brewing.  And, if you are experiencing any signs of leaks inside, you definitely want to address that right away. 

Call a professional roofer, who will have the experience and expertise to safely address your problem as soon as possible.  The immediate problem can be resolved by getting the snow and ice off the roof, and then potential long term solutions can be developed.  

Bottom line - Mother Nature has not been kind to roofs so far this winter.  Keep a watchful eye, and call a professional if you need anything done; a roof can be a dangerous place for a DIYer.

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