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6 Possible Sources of Winter Roof Leaks

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Harsh winter weather in this part of the United States puts residential roofing systems in danger of suffering damage. Snow and ice can put unnecessary stress on the roof, resulting in leaks. This, in turn, leads to issues like moisture damage, mold growth and rot.

6 Possible Sources of Winter Roof Leaks

To prevent further damage, it helps to identify the source of the leak and take the necessary actions to fix the problem. In this blog post, we will discuss six possible sources of winter roof leaks and how to prevent them.

Sources of Winter Roof Leaks

Since Brainerd, Minnesota, experiences harsh winter weather conditions, heavy snow may build up on your roof, increasing the chances of a leak. While roof leaks can occur anywhere, they are typically common in areas where snow and ice accumulate, such as the eaves, valleys, and gutters. You may also find leaks near the chimney, skylights, and vents.

Here are six possible sources of winter roof leaks in Brainerd, Minnesota.

1. Ice Dams

Ice dams form when the snow melts on the roof, runs down to the eaves, and refreezes. This can create a barrier that prevents melting snow from draining off the roof, causing water to back up and seep through the shingles.

Three things must be present for ice dams to occur: (1) the outdoor temperatures reach below freezing, (2) the roof deck’s temperature is above freezing, and (3) there is excess snow buildup on the roof. One part of the deck is warm, while the other part is cold, thus the formation of ice dams. They may look beautiful when seen from the outside, but they are major problems that can lead to water leaking into the interior of your home and compromising the structural integrity of the roof itself.  Get in touch with a professional ice dam removal company right away if you notice it forming along your roof’s gutters.

2. Clogged Gutters

Gutters direct water runoff away from your property, effectively preventing moisture issues that may affect your home’s exterior components, including your roof. Clogs inside the gutters, however, cause water to overflow, spill out and land on your home’s foundation. Some of the water may back up and seep into the roof, damaging the shingles and other roofing components and causing leaks..

3. Damaged Shingles

During winter, heavy snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can cause shingles to crack, split, or become loose, making them more susceptible to damage. Damaged or missing shingles allow water to penetrate the roof, leading to leaks.

High winds can also cause shingles to lift or become dislodged, leaving the roof exposed to the elements. If shingles are damaged or missing, you must have them repaired or replaced by a professional roofer.

4. Cracked Flashing

Flashing is used to seal the roof against water infiltration around roof penetrations such as chimneys, skylights, vents, and other roof projections. If the flashing is cracked or damaged, water can enter your roof, causing leaks and water damage. 

Winter weather conditions such as extreme temperatures and heavy snow can also cause flashing to crack or become loose, allowing water to penetrate the roof. Professional roofing companies can inspect and repair damaged flashing to prevent winter roof leaks.

5. Improperly Sealed Skylights and Chimneys

Skylights and chimneys are two of the most common features installed on top of the roof. The former provides natural light and ventilation, while the latter helps keep the interiors warm during the winter months. As with most penetrations, proper sealing is required to protect against leaks. Otherwise, water intrusion may occur, resulting in leaks.

6. Condensation

Keep in mind that warm and humid air rises and makes its way to the attic. If this space lacks ventilation and insulation, moisture and heat gets trapped inside, causing not just ice dams but also condensation. A lack of intake and exhaust vents means warm air cannot escape, and the longer it stays in the attic, the more it is likely to condense along the cool surface of the roof deck. If left unaddressed, moisture build-up worsens, resulting in water stains and mold growth — two issues commonly associated with leaks caused by water intrusion.

How to Prevent Winter Roof Leaks in Brainerd, Minnesota

Preventing winter roof leaks is crucial to preserving (or even extending) the life span of the roof. Be sure to keep these preventative measures in mind:

  • Remove Snow From the Roof. Removing snow from the roof can prevent the formation of ice dams and reduce the risk of leaks. However, you should consider hiring a professional for snow removal to avoid damaging the shingles.
  • Improve Ventilation and Insulation. Proper attic ventilation helps promote air circulation throughout the space, eliminating the problem of leaks caused by ice dams and excess condensation. Discuss with your roofing contractor whether your roof has enough intake and exhaust vents or additional ventilation is needed. Don’t forget insulation as well. With this, you can also help reduce energy costs and ensure consistent comfort in your home.
  • Clean Gutters Regularly. Keeping your gutters clean helps prevent water runoff from backing up on the roof. Experts recommend cleaning gutters every time the seasons change.

With these preventive measures, homeowners in Brainerd, Minnesota, can protect their homes from roof leaks in the winter and avoid costly repairs. But in case you notice signs of winter roof leaks like water stains on ceilings and ice dam formation along the gutters, never delay and get in touch with Neumann Construction right away. Our team can provide a professional, thorough assessment and help you through the entire storm damage repair process.

As experts in wind and hail damage repair, we also assist homeowners in navigating the insurance claim process. Count on us to represent your interest using our roofing expertise to make sure your needed repairs or replacement is covered fairly. To learn more about what we can do for you, give us a call today at (218) 270-0009. You may also fill out our online contact form to request an estimate. We serve homeowners in Brainerd and the rest of Crow Wing County.