As you bundle up indoors to wait out another chilly Texas winter, don’t forget to keep an eye on your roof! Severe winter weather can wreak havoc on your roof, especially if you don’t recognize damages. Little problems quickly become big, expensive hassles. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Ice and Hail Storms
This is a problem many Texas homeowners know all too well. Just last June, the Abilene and Austin areas were hit with a major hail storm. Hail the size of softballs was found in Abilene!
If large enough, hail can puncture your roof and cause leaks or threaten its structural integrity. However, it can be difficult to spot hail damage on your roof right away. Inspect the metal vents or valleys for dents, which can help you indicate the size and force of the hail. Next, take a look at the shingles. The most common signs of hail damage to shingles are cracking, bruising, or missing granules. Sometimes hail can leave small “dimples” on the shingle surface. If it hits hard enough, it can even cause a circular crack throughout the entire shingle.
2. Accumulated Snow & Ice Dams
We don’t get a lot of snow here in Central Texas, but this is still a good piece of information to know. When heavy snow accumulates atop your home, it puts additional pressure on your roof, which can lead to cracks and leaks. This is a greater concern for older roof structures that may not meeting modern framing standards. Newer, properly-constructed roofs aren’t as vulnerable to snow weight.
Similarly, an ice dam occurs when a layer of ice freezes around the edges of the roof. This blocks water and melting snow from draining off the roof, so all the water gets trapped in the dam and needs to go somewhere. Unfortunately, it can end up leaking into the home’s interior or causing weight damage to the roof.
3. Flashing Leaks
Flashing refers to the pieces of sheet metal applied over the roof’s joints to direct water flow and prevent water damage. You’ll often see flashing around dormer windows, chimneys, vents, and skylights. The material is usually quite durable, but can still be damaged by harsh weather. It’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your roof flashing a couple times a year. It’s much easier (and cheaper!) to have minor issues fixed than deal with the water damage caused by ignoring the problem.
4. Shingles Broken by Walking on Them
Old, partially cracked shingles are already weakened. The cold air makes them increasingly brittle, so they might break if you walk on them during the winter. Likewise, many homeowners attempt to “chip away” the ice that builds up on their roof, but sometimes they end up cracking or breaking their shingles in the process. Be extra careful if you need to go on the roof for any reason during the chillier months.
Although many of these factors are the “worst case scenario,” keep in mind that severe winter weather can affect even the strongest roof! If you need residential or commercial roof repair services in Austin, TX, look no further than Ja-Mar Roofing & Sheet Metal. We’ve been in the business for decades and can have your roof back to peak condition in no time.