Winters in Grand Rapids are not a time you really want to spend dealing with emergency roof issues. Unfortunately, these always tend to come up at the worst possible time. Roof issues are probably some of the worst to experience during this time of year.
You want to be sure your roof is going to keep out the snow, rain, and cold. However, roofing contractors are difficult to hire during the colder months due to safety concerns.
So what are the most common roofing issues, and what can you do to prevent them?
Excessive Snow Load
It is uncommon to get so much snow in Grand Rapids to cause roofs to collapse. However, the load of snow your roof can handle should be of concern. After all, if a massive snowstorm comes through, you want to be assured your roof is not going to collapse.
Now you have to consider whether you are dealing with light, loose snow, wet and heavy snow, or snow with ice. These determine the density and ultimately the weight. If you are dealing with loose snow, your roof might be able to handle more than 40 inches. However, if it is a packed, heavy type of snow, your roof may max out around 20 inches.
If the boards under your shingles or the trusses have gotten wet and are rotting, then your weight may be considerably less.
Ice Dams Cause Roof Issues
Ice dams are a buildup of ice at the edge of your roofline. This is caused by the snow melting on your roof, running down, and then getting trapped before it can drain. It then freezes as the air continues getting colder.
The problem with ice dams is that they cause shingles to pull up, loosening their seal on your roof. This then allows more moisture to get at the underside of your roof, and cause damage to more of your home.
Improperly vented roofs are one of the main causes of this particular problem and are easily solved by qualified roofing professionals.
Strong Cold Winds
Winters are known for their strong frigid winds. There are fewer leaves on the trees, so there is less wind resistance. This means the strength of wind your roof will have to handle is generally greater over the winter than in other seasons.
If your roof has been properly maintained, and you do not have any loose patches, then it should withstand these winds easily. However, if it has suffered damage due to ice dams, or if it is old and the shingles are getting loose, then it runs a risk of suffering more damage.
Cold Weather Roof Leaks
Leaks are the culmination of other roof issues. When winds cause damage or ice dams build-up, or there is too much snow on your roof, the end result is a leak.
Initially, a leak may just look like a little rust-colored spot on your ceiling. However, as a leak progresses, it will cause a bubble to form and water to start dripping.
Eventually, this builds up to either a catastrophic failure, which is not very common, or significant water damage to your roof, walls, and more. This water damage will lead to mold development, which then requires remediation.
Get Your Roof Ready for Winter
If you have any indication that your roof may be at risk of leaking over the winter, take the time during the fall months to take precautions to prevent them.
You may want to start with a general inspection of your roof. Simply walk out far enough to be able to see the shingles, and look for any that appear to be missing or peeling up. If you find any that are coming up, then you want to secure them back down. You can do this with roofing nails or liquid nails.
If you find torn or missing shingles, you need to address this. Depending on the location and the size of the problem, there may be multiple repair options. Small sections at the edge may be able to be replaced without doing the whole roof. However, larger sections may necessitate that you put on a new roof. An experienced roofing company like Tactical Roofing will be able to inspect and help you determine the level of repair you may need to face the coming season.