During winter, you may look at your roof and see sparkling Christmas lights or a cozy snow-covered roof, but once the spring thaw arrives, it could be a much different story. Winter storms can make for a surprising amount of roof damage, and if you don’t catch and fix it, then you might have serious problems during the spring rains. Recognizing some of the telltale signs of winter roof damage will help you avoid costly repairs and property damage. Here are some signs to watch for:
Unfortunately, one of the biggest signs that your roof was damaged during a winter storm is also a sign that you already have a leak from it. If your ceiling is dripping, if there are new signs of water damage, or there is mold or mildew growing on the ceiling, it is likely to be a leak from your roof. Winter storms can cause leaks as soon as the snow on the roof begins to melt. Now that the snow is gone (or before new snow falls) you should get it repaired as soon as possible.
Asphalt shingles get their color from small ceramic granules, which are pressed into the top surface. They might be dyed in multiple colors to offer a dynamic look. Either way, they are supposed to stay in place for the whole life of the shingle. But, older shingles that are nearing the end of their lifespan can start to lose granules, especially from snow melt and winter wind storms. If you’re missing granules, this is a sign that your shingles are giving out and need to be replaced.
Shingles are made of asphalt which, despite manufacturer’s best attempts at adjusting it for cold conditions, does get stiff in freezing temperatures. As a result, the cold winters combined with damage from impact can sometimes break shingles. Any affected shingles need to be replaced before they allow moisture into your roof.
Winter storms can carry large amounts of debris (like old fallen leaves and evergreen tree needles) onto your roof. When the snow melts, the gutters need to handle high volumes of water, and sometimes that water is stuffed with debris. Your gutters can clog up pretty quickly and, if they do, fail to drain water properly. That can cause ice dams when temperatures are still freezing and gutter overflow for spring rains. It is important to notice this problem and unclog your gutters before the are challenged with new snowfall or rain.
The strongest winter storms can rip up shingles from your roof face. Even shingles with high wind ratings aren’t impervious to a big storm. If your shingles were installed even slightly improperly (like nails that missed the nail line, or fewer nails than your manufacturer instructs) those shingles are going to be the first to fly off the roof. But even properly install shingles can go missing by spring too. Any empty spots on your roof will need to be filled with new shingles.
Hail does not actually happen in winter, but the spring. Still, you’re liable to notice its damage during inspections from winter storms. Depending on the size of the hail, its impact may have left small dents in your shingles, flashing or other roof elements, or it may have left serious craters. A roofing professional can help you assess if your level of hail damage is a serious problem that needs correcting, or if the roof will continue to perform just fine. Whether you’ll have insurance coverage for your hail is also another matter, and your roofer can advise you on that too.
Damage from Debris
Serious winter storms with high winds can send objects flying into your roof. This can create impact damage. Winter storms can also bring down trees and, if one falls on your roof, you’ll likely find some damage from that as well. In spring, your roofing professional can perform a full inspection of your roof and look for these signs of impact damage, as they may not be visible from the ground.
Get Help with Winter Storm Damage
Best Choice Roofing is your premier roofing company in Northern Delaware. We offer a free inspection and a same day estimate—you won’t be waiting for us to address your winter storm damage. Schedule your free estimate today!