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Mid-Winter Roof Leaks: What You Can Do

Posted on January 29, 2017 by Advance Companies

A mid-January roof leak might be one of the most discouraging seasonal problems. It’s almost impossible to remedy the situation entirely because, well, it’s winter in the Twin Cities and your window for home repairs is just too small. Of course, you can’t just put a bucket down (that is, if the leaking area is accessible to you) and constantly worry about dumping it out and replacing it. What can you do?

Assess The Situation

Figuring out where the leak is coming from and the resulting damage is task number one. A small leak resulting from an ice dam is one issue, and one that might be stemmed with a roof rake and electric tape. If it’s a bathroom leak that you discovered during a remodel, you might be in for more trouble. Here’s what to look for when assessing your leak(s):

  • Damaged rafters, ceiling joints and wall framing
  • Higher energy bills
  • Injury hazards
  • Fire hazards
  • Interior mold & mildew
  • Attic & ceiling damage

A chronic leak may lead to structural damage of ceiling rafters, joints and wall framing, causing rotted out framing and a variety of other issues from this list. This type of damage will require immediate repair- waiting until spring or summer is not a good option. However, if you find and repair your leak quickly, minor repairs will likely get your through the winter.

Ice Dam Leaks

Ice dams form as a result of a warm roof. After heavy snowfall, snow builds up on your roof as you would expect. The underlying snow melts as temperatures rise, and can eventually seep underneath shingles and into your roof and insulation, causing water damage and mold growth.

What Can You Do?

  • Hire a roofer (a much safer option) to remove the ice dam and use a roof rake each time it snows to prevent snow build up.
  • Once snow is removed from the roof, install electric heat tape to melt snow and funnel it off the roof and away from the house.
  • Replace damaged shingles and patch small leaks.

In the spring:

Improve your home’s insulation to prevent future ice dams.

General Roof Leak

Understanding the cause of your leak is important. An ice dam is an obvious cause, but what if you don’t have an ice dam but still have a leaky roof? Damaged shingles from storm damage or wear and tare is common. Roofs, after all, are only built to last between 20 and 30 years. If your roof is going on 20, it’s time to inspect for damage and get an evaluation from a roofer.

What Can You Do?

Where you see water leaking into your home may not be where the leak is located. On a slanted roof, for example, the true leak location is often higher up the roof than the apparent leak location. Be sure to inspect above and around the apparent leak to find where water is truly entering the roof.

Fix Shingles

The most common method to repairing small leaks. Let’s assume you’ve found the leak and it’s under a damaged shingle. Here’s what you should do.

  • Remove the old shingle by lifting its edges and prying out the nail.
  • Scrape the area underneath it to remove any leftover roofing cement.
  • Use a sharp utility knife to round the back corners of the new shingle slightly.
  • Slide the new shingle into place and drive 1 14 inch (3.2 cm) galvanized roofing nails into each upper corner, then cover the nail heads with roof cement.

The Advance Option

Has your leak turned into a serious water or mold problem? Do you have structural damage? For over 38 years, Advanced Companies has been restoring homes and businesses to pre-disaster condition. Our trusted industry experts can eradicate mold and water, get your roof fixed and relieve the stress of mid-winter roof damage. Contact us 24/4 in emergency situations or to schedule an appointment.

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