Impact of Ice on Roofing

Impact of Ice on Roofing

As we enter the cold weather season, ice and snow can pose a significant problem for homes. According to Insurance News Net, winter weather caused approximately $64.1 million in property damage throughout the U.S. in the first six months of 2022. 

According to a survey conducted by Value Penguin, more than 18% of homeowners surveyed had not yet begun repairs on their homes damaged in the 2022 storms. The nationwide survey revealed that 62% of homeowners struggled to pay for the damages, with 45% using a payment plan to stagger the costs, and 17% had not addressed the damage by spring.

Avoiding Snow and Ice Damage

Homeowners can avoid issues caused by ice by promptly addressing snow and ice on their roofs and properly maintaining their roofing gutters.  What causes this reported damage? According to Roof Advisor, the following problems top the list of winter storm damage caused by ice:

  • Roof stress
  • Ice dams
  • Freeze and thaw cracks

Each of these problems can harm a roof, sometimes occurring simultaneously.

Roof Stress Caused by Snow and Ice

After heavy snowfall that remains in place for several days, the weight of the snow can accumulate on a roof, causing roof stress that may lead to collapse. Normally, precipitation, typically rainwater, flows off the roof, through the roofing gutters, and into the yard.

Why do icicles form on gutters?

To address the formation of icicles on gutters, when the temperature drops below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), the snow and ice cannot melt and flow off like rainwater. Large ice blocks form. This problem can worsen if homeowners do not promptly remove the snow from their roofs after a snowfall.

Ice Melt Can Cause Ice Dams

If ice and snow melt quickly, ice dams would not form. When the temperature of the roof's top and middle portions warms above freezing, while the temperature of the roofing gutters and roof edge remains at 32 degrees, the snow and ice melt and trickle down to the roof's edge, where they refreeze. This frozen mass at the roof's edge, with gutters filled with ice, is known as an ice dam and can cause damage to roof flashing and gutters.

So, is roof melt safe for shingles? Yes, typically, a difference in temperature across the roof area arises from a warm attic. Properly insulating a home's attic keeps temperatures consistent across the entire roof. Without proper insulation, moisture buildup in the roofing layers or attic can lead to condensation, resulting in rust, rot, mildew, and mold.

Damage from Freeze and Thaw

The same ice and snowfall can cause dings and cracks in roofing tiles and liners. When the snow melts, water can seep into these cracks, damaging shingles and the structure of the roof. As water seeps in, the cracks grow larger, causing shingle movement.

How the Three Types of Damage Work Together

Without removing the ice dam, water can drip through roof cracks into the soffits, ceiling, and walls of a home when it eventually melts. According to Family Handyman, this damage manifests in the form of rust spots on drywall fasteners, peeling paint, drywall damage, or water stains near doors and windows. If left untreated, this damage can lead to rot or mold.

Preventing Snow and Ice Damage

Proper home maintenance can help prevent ice damage. First, ensure that the home's attic is properly insulated. Second, maintain the roofing gutters, ensuring they remain clean and unobstructed. You might wonder, do gutter guards cause ice dams? Do gutter guards cause icicles? No to both questions. Gutter guards keep leaves and other debris that can block roofing gutters out of the way of water flow. Third, install gutter guards if your home's roof gutters do not already have them. Fourth, promptly remove snow from the roof to prevent accumulation and potential problems.


The Final Word

In conclusion, the impact of ice on roofing is a significant concern for homeowners, with winter weather causing millions of dollars in property damage each year. Understanding the mechanisms behind these issues, such as roof stress from accumulated snow, the formation of icicles and ice dams, and the potential damage from freeze-and-thaw cycles, is crucial for homeowners looking to protect their homes. Proactive measures, such as proper insulation, regular gutter maintenance, and the use of gutter guards, can help prevent snow and ice damage, ensuring the longevity and integrity of a home's roofing system.

Don't let this winter season catch you unprepared. Join our network today and be part of a community that values excellence, expertise, and proactive solutions in roofing. Together, let's build a network that not only withstands the challenges of winter but sets the standard for quality roofing services. Sign up today!


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