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Common Main Causes of Roof Leaks During Winter

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Roofs are very sturdy and resilient, and are built to withstand weather through constant exposure to the elements. This includes the frigid temperature of winter and the possible threats to your roof associated with the season. During the winter months, when every home is exposed to ice and snow, you may find that your roof is leaking in addition to the many feet of snow. While there are a few reasons for roof leaks in the winter, ice dams are the most common. Aside from ice dams, what are the common main causes of roof leaks during winter? 

 Roof Leaks During Winter

Ice Dams

Ice dams are the most common source of roof leaks in the winter. Warm temperatures in your attic can cause condensation, and the snow on your roof can melt and accumulate in your gutters, causing ice dams. If your roof is poorly insulated and lacks proper ventilation, the heat emanating from your attic can cause condensation and the snow on your roof to melt, which flows down (and seeps into small cracks and gaps in-between shingles and other areas) as water and refreezes. This process repeats itself over and over again, with ice dams becoming more severe each time. When ice dams begin to melt during the day and then refreeze at night, the freezing water backs up and causes leaks under the shingles.

Attic Frost and Condensation

When possible, always visually inspect your attic during winter. If you notice a layer of frost forming on the underside of your roof decking, you’re looking at a problem. Attic frost can be quite damaging, and it is most prone to form when temperatures drop drastically (below 10 degrees). Warm, wet air collides with the ice-cold roof deck, forming frost. This cycle repeats itself until a quarter-inch to a full inch of frost has formed. When the temperature outside rises above freezing, the ice melts and has nowhere to go except the inside of the house. Bear in mind that this isn’t technically a leak, but rather is just attic condensation that is producing issues through frost. If you think your attic isn’t well-insulated enough to prevent this problem, contact your trusted roof replacement company to help you address it.

Plumbing Problems

Failing shower pans, overflowing bathtubs and poor caulking or bad wax rings around toilets are the most prevalent sources of plumbing-related leaks in houses. Water can travel hundreds of feet from its source before finding the route of least resistance and appearing. Water is commonly seen seeping through ceiling penetrations, such as through recessed lights and sheetrock seams, many feet away from the leak source. Plumbing problems can happen at any time of the year, so when they happen in the winter, many people assume it’s because of an ice dam. Plumbing leaks are difficult to detect and repair because they necessitate the use of specialized equipment, such as thermal imagers.

Contact Us!

Neumann Construction is a local roofing company that specializes in installing roofs on lake homes, cabins and other residential properties. Our workers are highly skilled and are committed to providing the best customer service and products, and the highest quality workmanship possible. We are also fully licensed and insured, so you don’t have to concern yourself with liabilities like medical costs when we’re installing your roof, and we also are GAF-certified roofing contractors!

For any inquiries, you can reach us at (218) 270-0009, or fill out our contact form to request an estimate. We proudly serve clients and homeowners in Pequot Lakes, MN.