Common Types of Roof Damage Over the Winter

Winter Roof Damage In Toronto Often Results from Excessive Snow and Ice Accumulation

Risks of Roof Damage in WinterWhen Toronto-area residents literally reset their clocks back to standard time on the first weekend of November, it would seem, in a figurative sense, that they are simultaneously resetting the thermostat for the region to a lower temperature. Said another way, there appears to be a direct correlation between the return of so-called normal daylight hours and the return of the winter season.

The arrival of a chill in the air and the appearance of early-morning frost on car windows are signs that bitter cold, blowing snow, and overall nasty weather conditions are not far behind. And while people can take many steps to protect themselves from the season’s bluster, including staying indoors whenever possible, the roof of their home is left to face winter’s fury head on; instead of having the luxury of avoiding winter’s conditions, a roof stands in the way in an effort to safeguard the homeowner and family and shielding their property and possessions from damage.

However, continued exposure to winter’s weather conditions can result in a need for roof repairs; this is most often seen with asphalt shingle roofs, and is magnified if those roofs are somewhat older and/or in a weakened state. The circumstances that will customarily contribute to winter roof damage include the following:

  • Strong winds
  • Ice accumulation
  • Snow accumulation
  • Freeze-and-thaw cycles

In terms of the specific types of winter roof damage brought about by one or more of the above, the most common would be:

  • Leaks/Water Penetration
    • Water penetrates the roof through shingles damaged/loosened by high winds
    • Flashing that is worked loose by wind and/or ice provides another entry point
    • This can result in damage to the roof deck, attic insulation, ceilings, and walls
  • Ice Dam Formation
    • Accumulated snow on the roof is melted by heat escaping from the home
    • This melted snow then refreezes along the roof eaves, forming an ice dam
    • The ice dam blocks subsequent melted snow from draining into the gutters
    • Water flows back under the roof surface and damages the shingles and deck
    • Note – icicles hanging from gutters is a sign of ice dam formation on the roof
  • Eavestrough, Soffit, and Fascia Damage
    • Gutters get overloaded with wet snow and/or ice, exceeding their weight limit
    • This causes them to bend, buckle, or become dislodged from the fascia board
    • Water/melted snow can also overflow the gutters, potentially damaging the soffit, siding, exterior masonry, and/or the home’s foundation
  • Condensation in the Attic
    • Excess snow and ice can block vents and hinder the proper ventilation of the attic
    • This leads to excess condensation/moisture build-up, which can eventually cause damage to the attic insulation, the roof deck, and to the shingles on the roof
    • Can negatively affect energy efficiency, resulting in greater monthly heating costs
  • Structural Damage
    • Too much snow or ice can cause structural damage on or below the roof surface
    • Excess weight can damage the shingles or the deck, allowing water into the home
    • In severe cases, it can buckle ceilings and walls and cause doors/windows to jam
    • As well as extensive repair costs, there is the possibility of serious personal injury

It should be apparent at this point that a major contributor to winter roof damage is the excessive accumulation of snow and/or ice; accordingly, it will be important for Toronto homeowners to be vigilant with respect to the amount of snow/ice accumulating on their roof and to have it removed if it is not melting or evaporating through natural means.

Under the latter circumstances, they might find benefit in the professional snow and ice removal services offered by a reputable roofing company such as Avenue Road Roofing.

Expert Snow Removal Avoids Risks of Personal Injury, Winter Roof Repair Costs

Shielding Roof From Winter DamageIn general, snow accumulation of six inches is considered the maximum allowable before it should be removed from a roof, though a lesser amount can also be detrimental if the snow is very wet/heavy or compacted. And although clearing snow and/or ice from the roof can be done by the homeowner, there are inherent risks involved, including:

  • The hazards of working at heights
  • The hazards of working on sloped surfaces
  • The hazards of working on slick/slippery surfaces
  • The potential of damaging the roofing material or gutters

By contracting Avenue Road Roofing to remove the snow and ice as needed throughout the winter, homeowners can avoid these risks of injury, and the possibility of incurring unnecessary roof repair costs, and ensure that any heavy accumulations are correctly cleared from the roof surface and/or the eavestrough system.

The Avenue Road Roofing crews are trained and experienced in the proper techniques for removing snow and ice dams based on such dynamics as:

  • Snow depth
  • Height of the roof
  • Surface area of roof
  • Type of roofing material
  • Type of roof (pitched or flat)

For in-depth information on the advantages of using the skilled crews from Avenue Road Roofing for the removal of snow and ice dams from residential and commercial roofing, go to our snow removal and ice damming services page.

For expert snow and ice removal from your roof this winter, call the skilled professionals from Avenue Road Roofing at 416-785-5129 today or contact us to discuss how our services can help you avoid unnecessary roof damage and roof repair costs.