Can Severe Winter Weather Damage Your Roof?

The chilly, wet winters of Hickory, North Carolina can wreak havoc on residential roofs. The good news is that they don’t have to! If you’re worried about the effects of severe weather during the coming winter season, there are steps that you can take now to mitigate them. With the right strategies, low temperatures, freezing precipitation, and heavy wind won’t leave you with wet, discolored ceilings or other property damage.

1. Stay Ahead of Wind Damage by Checking Your Shingles Now

If the weather permits, schedule a professional roof inspection or perform a quick roof assessment from the ground. Dark patches on your roof may indicate that your shingles are losing their granules and that they’ve already reached the end of their lifespan. You can also check for shingle granules in your gutters and at the bases of your downspouts. Spotty, gritty collections of dark-colored pebbles in these areas mean that your roof probably isn’t ready for the additional strain that winter weather is guaranteed to bring.

It’s best to schedule roof inspections in late spring or early summer. This way, if your roof requires significant work, it can be completed right away. These are also the best times to have total tear-downs and replacements performed.

In late autumn and when winter is already in full swing, your best bet is to replace any loose, torn, bent, or missing shingles. Performing urgent shingle repairs will restore the watertight bond that these components create. It will also make it easier for your roof to route rainwater and freezing precipitation toward your gutters.

2. Clean Your Gutters

Gutters filled with leaves, twigs, and other airblown debris at the start of winter are likely to become clogged and overflow during the first major storm. When this occurs, it leaves the eaves and outer edges of your roof exposed to standing water. It can also lead to damaged soffits and siding. Worse still, if outside temperatures fall below freezing, the combined weight of ice and compacted debris in your gutters may cause them to tear away from your home. At best, this will leave you with significant aesthetic damage. At worst, it can mean replacing a number of structural roofing elements, including your gutters and downspouts.

3. Clean Your Roof’s Surface

If you inspect your roof while standing at the curb and spy large, dark patches, this could mean that your shingles are losing granules. However, it can also mean that your roof is developing black mold. Mold is a common issue among dirty, ill-maintained roofs. Just as it’s crucial to clear out your gutters before the cold season arrives, it’s also necessary to get rid of debris on the roof’s surface. When paired with perpetually wet winter conditions, fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, and other droppings from overhead trees can create the perfect environment for black mold to develop. The damp, organic debris can also attract unwanted critters.

4. Invest in Pest Control

Everyone wants a warm home in winter. Leaving organic debris scattered across your roof’s surface is akin to laying out a welcome mat for pests. Although winter temperatures can drop fairly low in Hickory, NC, certain insects remain a common problem. Among these are:

  • Termites
  • Stink bugs
  • Roaches
  • Flies

Squirrels, raccoons, mice, rats, and possums are other common pests during winter. Not only do you want to eliminate potential food sources at and around your roof, but you also want to ensure that there are no accessible points of ingress around or under your eaves. Take care of uncapped chimneys, broken vents, and any openings that lead into attic spaces. Sometimes, winter weather takes less toll on roofs than unwanted, four-legged guests.

5. Inspect Skylights, Piping, and Other Fixtures

Roofs are most vulnerable at their valleys and around chimneys, pipes, and other fixtures. These areas are where leaks are most likely to occur. One sure way to avoid blistering paint, discolored ceilings, and months of keeping a bucket on the floor to catch errant drips is by checking and restoring all seals around rooftop fixtures. The best time to identify and repair damaged roof areas is in early autumn. If you have skylights, chimneys, or pipes that are ready to be replaced, hire a professional to take care of these projects in early autumn also.

6. Check Your Siding

The health of your roof and the health of your home’s siding are linked. If your roof is in bad shape, your siding is probably suffering too. Make sure that all soffits and panels are well-secured and undamaged. If you find problems in these areas, they may point to serious roof issues that require immediate attention. As with many roof issues, siding problems that aren’t taken care of in a timely fashion can lead to mold formation, pest infestations, and leaks within the building.

7. Have Your Trees Professionally Limbed

The importance of having tree limbing service performed before winter hits is not something you want to realize in hindsight. Not only is it a great way to protect your roof, but it’s also a great way to protect yourself. If you’ve got towering trees on your property, severe storms and heavy winds can send weak, dying, or diseased branches crashing down. These unfortunate events can leave your roof and your home’s framing riddled with major structural damages. They can also cause severe and potentially fatal physical injuries.

As a tree owner, having your trees limbed regularly is part of your duty of care. It’s also one of the best things you can do to protect your roof from the ravages of the cold season.

8. Beef Up Your Attic Insulation

Residential attics should have both sufficient ventilation and ample insulation. Too much or too little of either can leave you with ice dams and other roofing problems. If more insulation is needed, you can add to your existing insulation or choose to install insulation with a higher R-value.

9. Take Advantage of Emergency Tarping Service

Don’t delay in taking care of roof damage during winter. Many people automatically assume that they should wait until winter’s end to deal with roof leaks, torn flashing, missing shingles, or damaged gutters and downspouts. Unchecked roof damage is always a progressive issue. Unfortunately, unchecked roof damage in winter tends to progress at an expedited rate.

Although roof replacement and repair projects are complicated by winter weather, roofing companies don’t shut their doors until spring when winter arrives. We’re available year-round. Even when the weather isn’t ideal, our teams can perform emergency roof tarping services that slow the progression of roof damage and minimize the amount of water damage inside your home. In some instances, emergency tarping services can prevent buildings from sustaining any interior damage at all.

If you’re looking for a trusted roofer in Hickory, North Carolina, Landmark Roofing is the company to call. We are a GAF Master Elite roofing contractor. We offer residential and commercial roof installation, maintenance, and repair services. We also provide drone roof inspections. If you need help getting your roof winter-ready, contact Landmark Roofing today!

Justin Phillips

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