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How Snow and Ice Effect your Home: Roofing Nightmares

Updated: Apr 19, 2021


Heavy snowfall on a roof with ice trickling down damaging the roofs structure - sunken

Winter in Saskatchewan. Whether it’s driving over roads covered with ice and slush or shovelling snow- it can put a lot of stress on a home owner. It can also put a lot of stress on your roof and shingles.


This article discusses the top 3 issues that arise with cold weather conditions. It's useful for a home owner to be aware the effects that snow and ice can have on the health of your roof.


Additional stress on your roof


Have you ever wondered why nearly every residential roof is pitched and not flat? This is the norm for a reason. A pitched roof serves a very functional purpose it is what allows snow and ice to slide off of the roof so that it doesn’t build up. Why this is so important, is because snow and ice are exceptionally heavy - especially where it has been allowed to collect and build up over the course of days or weeks. While this extra weight on your roof is not likely to cause a collapse, it is very likely adding additional stress to the materials that comprise your roof. Over time this added stress has the ability to effect your roof in the long-term. This has the potential to reduce the lifespan of your roof by several years and you may find yourself needing to do more repairs or replacements sooner than you otherwise would have.


Ice dam formation


Typically an ice dam will start out relatively small but over time they can form to become a very serious problem. Ice dams are ridged ice formations that form alongside the edge of your roofing. This prevents snow and ice sitting higher up from melting and working its way off of the roof like it is supposed to. The cause of these formations is a complicated interaction between the cold weather air temperatures outside colliding with the warmer air temperatures that escape from your house through the roof. If ice dams are allowed to form on your roof, they have the potential to cause damage to the shingles. This type of damage could eventually result in leaks that could cause extensive interior damage to your home.


Potential for leakage


With the additional weight of the snow putting stress on your roof as well as the formation of ice dams - this can create a perfect situation for roof leakage. One of the biggest problems with ice dams is that they have the ability to work their way underneath the roof shingles. This is where we find a lot of leakage potential. If this does end up happening then the resulting leaks and water can cause considerable damage to your walls, insulation, and more. If you find yourself with a particularly older roof that may be in need of an update or replacement and if it happens to be a particularly snow-heavy winter- then you may find yourself susceptible to these sorts of leakage problems.


If you see evidence of roof damage or any sign of leaks inside of your home- it is imperative that a you have your roof assessed as soon as you are able. So long as a home has been built to code, there is very little risk of a total roof collapse, but keep in mind that that doesn’t mean that it's not potentially in need of urgent attention. If you are concerned about whether the years of snow and ice have negatively impacted your roof, contact us at Ozmun Exteriors and we can help you solve your roofing problems.

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