While pretty icicles may look festive around the holidays, they can severally damage your gutters and your roof.
Can you spot the signs of roof damage on your home or commercial building? One sure way to know that you have at least some damage is to look for icicles in cold weather. The added weight of snow and ice in the cold winter months can begin to erode your formerly intact roof and can critically damage an older or already impaired one. It’s imperative to catch the problem early so you’re left with simple gutter repairs rather than full replacements.
Water Damage Due to Winter Weather
When your gutters fill with snow and ice and your roof is covered, the heat from your home’s interior can actually draw water into your home. As it melts, the water takes the path of least resistance – typically through your skylights or ceiling.
Water expands as it freezes, and when your gutters fill with water and freeze during a winter storm, they can be stretched out of shape and damaged. As the heat from the interior of your home melts the ice and snow, more water flows into your gutters. Eventually, so much ice, slush and snow can fill your gutters that they can actually be ripped away from your roof by the sheer weight of the ice.
How to Protect your Gutters and Roof in Winter
Clearing snow off of your roof as it accumulates can help reduce the risk of roof damage. Your gutters should be clean and clear of debris before the cold weather arrives. If you already have gutters full of fall leaves and other debris, even a single snowfall or icy rain storm can damage your roof and gutter systems. To prevent damage:
- Have your gutters cleaned regularly. If you see plant debris or notice water falling off of your roof instead of traveling through the gutter system, there is a blockage somewhere that should be investigated.
- Check for overlarge icicles and ice blocks and knock them down if possible. Don’t allow huge blocks of ice or masses of icicles to accumulate.
- The same salt you use to keep your driveway and sidewalks clean and safe can also be used to break up large chunks of ice in your gutters. If you can safely do so, add salt and remove chunks as needed so ice can accumulate and hem melt into your home. Avoid salting your entire roof, since some types of shingles can be damaged by rock salt.
If gutter damage has already occurred, contact a roofing professional to repair any problems right away,. Little roofing problems can rapidly expand into huge home repairs, so immediate attention is a must. If your roof or gutters are not safely accessible do not attempt to remove ice or snow on your own; your roofing professional has the right tools for the job and can provide expert repairs without risking your personal safety.
If you see too many icicles this winter, we’re here for you. Contact us for immediate help, at 501-588-0842, or follow our blog for the latest ways to keep your roof and gutters functioning as they should.