There’s never a convenient time for your roof to develop a leak. But winter? It just might win the prize for the most frustrating season for roof leaks.
If you tend to associate leaks with warm, rainy seasons like spring and summer, you are not alone. However, the truth is that winter is often the time of year when roof leaks are the most prevalent. This can be due to a variety of factors, including:
- Poor insulation 🥶
- Temperature differences 🌡️
- Heavy snowfall ❄️
Whatever the reason, it is easy for leaks to become a problem when you aren’t looking for them. Keep reading to learn our top tips on how to spot a roof leak in winter.
How Do Roof Leaks Form?
If you own a home that has been experiencing frequent winter roof leaks, we know that it can be hugely frustrating. Not only do you have to deal with costly repairs, but it can be confusing trying to determine how the leaks formed in the first place.
Looking for answers? Here are the most common causes of winter roof leaks.
If you live in a cold climate, there’s a good chance that you’ve dealt with an ice dam at one point or another. Ice dams typically form when warm air leaks from your roof, causing rooftop snow to melt. As the melting snow travels down your roof, it refreezes, creating ice dams. Ice dams are a common source of water damage to your roof.
Gutters exist to help divert water away from your home. It stands to reason then that when they become clogged, that water may find its way into your home. Gutters can become clogged in a number of different ways. They can get filled with leaves, twigs, and other debris. In the wintertime, though, the most likely culprit is ice. Regularly cleaning out your gutters can help keep your roof safe.
The good news is that your leak may not be a leak at all! When your attic is not properly insulated, you may find that there is condensation build-up on the inside of your home. This is most commonly seen on windows but can happen anywhere.
Broken or missing shingles are cause for concern all year round, but they could also be causing your winter roof leak. If snow is building up on your roof, it is possible that it is melting and finding a way inside through the space where your broken shingles are.
Dangers of a Roof Leak
A roof leak is obviously unpleasant, but is it really that big of a problem? The answer is yes. The moment you notice your roof leaking, it is important to contact a professional roofer or risk the problem becoming worse. How much worse? Here are some of the things that a leaky roof can lead to.
- Full Roof Replacement – While uncommon, a roof leak leading to a roof replacement is not unheard of. Typically this happens when the roof deck has sustained so much water damage that it is no longer viable.
- Water Stains – If you leave a roof leak untreated, don’t be surprised if you start to find yellow and brown water stains on your walls and ceilings.
- Fire Hazards – When water is leaking in through your ceilings and walls, it can also leak onto your electrical wiring. This puts your home at an increased risk for electrical fires.
- Structural Damage – Continual water damage can lead to structural damage to both your roof and your home’s foundation. In order to avoid costly repairs down the road, it is best to take care of your roof leaks right away.
How to Find a Roof Leak
Do you suspect that your roof is leaking but aren’t sure where to start looking? Here are some telltale signs of winter roof leaks to watch out for.
Head Up to the Attic
If you think that you have a roof leak, the best place to start looking is in your attic. This is the most common place for roof leaks, in the colder months, due to the contrast in temperatures.
Check for Water Stains
While you may know to check for water stains on your walls and ceilings, it can also be a good idea to look at your storage items in your attic. Oftentimes, water can be leaking onto bags and boxes without you knowing.
Another common place to find winter roof leaks is in and around the vents in your attic. Be sure to check closely for any signs of water or rust.
Look at Windows
As we mentioned previously, condensation is another culprit when it comes to water damage to your roof. Condensation is often found on windows or on a skylight. Like a roof leak, it can drip and create water stains on your floors and surrounding objects.
How to Prevent Roof Leaks
One of the best ways to stop roof leaks is to take preventative measures. Here are some of the best ways to protect your home.
- Add Attic Insulation – Adding insulation to your attic roof can keep your exterior roof cool and prevent ice dams by getting rid of melted snow.
- Shovel – Snow build-up on your roof after a snowstorm can create all sorts of problems for your roof. Investing in a roof shovel with help get you through the winter months.
- Schedule a Roof Inspection – A roof inspection done by a roofing contractor is one of the best ways to stop problems before they start. We recommend scheduling an annual inspection for the warmer months so that you are ready to go when winter comes.
Set Up a Professional Consultation
Need help taking on your winter roof leaks? Northface Construction can help! Our team of roofing professionals can provide roof inspections, repairs, and replacements, as well as advise you on how best to manage a winter roof leak. Contact us today to receive a free quote for your winter roof solutions!