SNOW & ICE
Snow and ice problems can create major problems in our area. With changing weather patterns, freezing and thawing over several days can cause significant ice accumulation at sidewalls, flat roofs, crickets and gutters, and in valleys, causing a variety of “building leaks” for homeowners and businesses. This may only get worse rather than better if the temperatures remain cold when rain is predicted. Unfortunately there is no quick fix solution.
ARE THESE REALLY ROOF LEAKS?
Most roof problems, which are caused by ice damming, occur when the water cannot clear the roof and is drawn up through an opening by “capillary draw”. The water will actually move ‘uphill’ so to speak. Since ice most commonly forms at gutter lines, crickets, valleys, and garage / wall intersections, each of these areas represent ideal places for the water to collect. A classic place is adjacent to a one-story roof like a garage adjacent to a two-story wall adjacent to a dining room or great room where the warm heat of the wall helps to melt the snow and ice above these large ice accumulations. This problem is exaggerated on the negative pressure side of the house where the ice and snow buildup has collected and is heavier.
Unfortunately, this will cause leak problems, which will probably never occur again in the same place and can be considered ‘one-time’ leaks.
CAN WE CLEAN THE ROOF OFF OR USE SALT?
The simple answer is NO and NO. SAFETY is the main issue because it would be very easy to fall off the ladder or roof. Besides, when the ice is formed, it can actually freeze onto the shingles or flat roof product, becoming a part of the roof temporarily. By trying to physically remove the ice, the shingle tabs or flat roof product might break and create more access for water infiltration, not to mention the roof damage, so this is never recommended.
The use of any salt compounds like sodium chloride or calcium chloride should not be thrown onto the roof because salt and chemical products that melt ice can cause the same damage to your roof as it does to road (asphalt) pavement.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The best recommendation is to evaluate the water leak and determine the potential damage, if any. Regardless, homeowners should notify their insurance company just in case a claim should arise. After the ice and snow have melted, it is recommended that you wait until after the first rain to determine if there is any permanent damage. As mentioned previously, these are usually ‘one-time’ leaks. And while it is usually a ‘one-time’ leak, if you indeed have ice damming, there are ice and water shield products you may want to consider if you need to have your home reroofed in the future.
Because of the unique nature of these problems and the fact that they are considered “acts of God”, these types of “building” leaks are not covered by any warranty or workmanship guarantees.
We feel very confident of our analysis due to the repeated problems that occur each year throughout the winter months. Is it the answer that you want to hear – NO. However, if your roof still leaks after the ice and snow have melted, please feel free to contact our office so that we can schedule an appointment to see if a repair needs to be made. Thank you for your understanding during our difficult winter season.
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