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How Do the Different Winter Elements Affect Your Home’s Roof?

Every season of the year will have an effect on your home’s exterior. But there is something about wintertime that brings about damaging climatic elements, especially to your roof.

From simple rains to heavy hail and everything in between, your roof has an important job to perform to keep your home safe. We know you desire to be a savvy homeowner, and our goal at American Home Contractors is to help you become one. As a roof replacement contractor, we believe that caring for your roof comes not just from routine maintenance but also understanding the potential damage your roof can experience so you can catch damage when it occurs or even prepare for that damage beforehand.

As the winter months set in, here are some climatic elements that may affect your roof.

Snow Fall

Snow is to be expected in a New Jersey winter, but it can have a negative impact on your roof if left unchecked. Heavy snowfall will build up on your roofing structure and damage the materials under its weight. If it does not completely crack or break shingles, it can weaken their integrity, shortening their lifespan or making it easier for other elements to combat your roof.

The Freeze and Thaw Cycle

Ice alone is not always enough to damage your roof. Instead, it is the freeze-and-thaw cycle of ice that can create damage, potentially developing two distinct features on your roof: icicles and ice dams.

Both of these structures are created as snow or ice melts from hot spots on the roof and then refreezes as it hits colder regions or reaches the eaves of the roof. The difference is that icicles form as water drips off the roof and freezes, while ice dams form as water freezes at the roof’s edge and backs up, forming a block of ice.

Icicles vs. Ice Dams

Icicles can affect the edges of your roofline, specifically the gutters. As icicles grow in length, the weight of their structure can pull at the gutters, weakening their grip on your home and leading to improper drainage.

Ice dams, on the other hand, can be much more unnerving as they can damage the roof, gutters, and even a home’s interior. As the dams form, the weight of the ice can cause shingles or gutters to weaken and even buckle under pressure. They also prevent water from properly draining from your roof, and the backlogged water can make its way under shingles and into your home. So, it’s important to do all you can to prevent ice dams from ever forming and pay attention to signs they may have appeared.

Heavy Hail

New Jersey’s hail season tends to fall around midsummer. But hail can still be an issue for your roof during the winter. Hail can dent, crack, or break shingles and their backing. It can also harm your flashing and gutters, making hail preparation extremely important.

The larger the hail, the greater the chance of damage occurring. Hail can also cause granule loss on your shingles, which exposes the felt of the shingles and shortens their lifespan.

Harsh Winds

The change in temperature during winter can often be accompanied by harsh winds. The more extreme winds a roof experiences, the more likely it is to have shingles lift, curl, or even blow off.

Wind can also affect gutters and flashing. It can lift flashing, which affords moisture the opportunity needed to penetrate your home’s interior. This can lead to mold and even structural damage.

How to Protect Your Roof This Winter

  1. Performing a pre-winter inspection and tune-up is the best thing you can do for your roof before the winter season. We recommend hiring a professional to look over every element of your roofing system, not merely the shingles. Allow them to perform all recommended repairs and have them complete a roof repair consultation and tune-up to have your roof looking its best for winter.
  2. Trimming trees and plants prior to snowfall and heavy winds lessens the chance of excess debris scratching, puncturing, or cracking your roofing shingles. Heavy winds, snowfall, and even hail can cause overhanging branches to break and damage your roofing. Simple pruning can prevent this from happening.
  3. Repairing damaged gutters prepares your roof for optimal drainage to keep precipitation properly flowing during the winter. But first, remove any rubble and fall buildup from your gutters.
  4. Installing impact-resistant shingles helps protect your home from wind and hail damage. They are specifically designed to withstand the harsh impact of hail and can even lower homeowner’s insurance in certain circumstances. Just make sure that you look for a class 4 impact resistance rating when selecting shingles for your home.
  5. Adding attic insulation where needed helps to maintain the temperature in your attic, helping to combat uneven temperatures on your roof that cause the freeze-and-thaw cycle.
  6. Removing snow buildup as it occurs keeps the weight from becoming too heavy and damaging the structural integrity of your roofing system, as well as lessens the chance for ice dams. (Climbing onto your roof during winter can be dangerous without proper safety equipment. Consider contacting a professional for snow removal.)

Start Your Winter Roofing Protection Today

Becoming a savvy homeowner can be as simple as making a phone call. When you take the time to invest in your roofing, your entire home will reap the benefits, especially when it comes to wintertime. Our team can perform a thorough inspection of your roof, provide a tune-up for the upcoming winter, or give you a completely new roof replacement. You can gain peace of mind when you allow our team of roof replacement contractors to bring our expertise to your home.

Request a quote from our roof replacement contractor team to see how we can help you protect your home this winter season.