With cold weather on the way, now is the perfect time to get an inspection done by a qualified roofing replacement and repair company. Roofs are constructed to protect homes and their contents from severe winter weather such as snow and ice. Before the days get shorter and colder – and before the holiday season gets in full swing – take precautions to ensure your roof is in top-top condition. It’s worth your peace of mind!

As a homeowner, you’re probably thinking: What could go wrong in wintertime since my roof was fine in spring, summer and fall? The answer is simple: Plenty. It’s during the cold winter months that a particular concern arises, that of snow and ice melting and refreezing. Let’s take a closer look at how this freeze-thaw-freeze process deteriorates components of a roof, often at a rate much faster than normal wear and tear.

Freeze-Thaw-Freeze Process and Effects on a Roof

The freeze-thaw-freeze process is a continuous cycle, starting at the first snowfall or ice accumulation. Unlike rain that drains away quickly, snow and ice stay on the roof for longer periods of time. As the temperature rises above the freezing mark, they melt into water. If this liquid doesn’t run off or evaporate, it stays and refreezes as soon as the temperature drops. Shingles and flashing put up with a lot from freezing-refreezing.

  • Shingles are waterproof tiles attached to the roof. On a warm day, melted snow and ice seep into cracks and crevices on or around old or damaged shingles. Once the temperature drops, any moisture in these small gaps freezes and expands, forcing these openings to get larger. On the next warm day, the frozen moisture thaws and contracts, and if not evaporated, it’s ready to be frozen all over again.

Particularly problematic during winter are ice dams that cause shingles to be covered in pools of water. Ice dams form when melted snow and ice collect near the roof’s edge and freeze. Over time, a barrier builds up, preventing drainage off the roof. This trapped water has lots of time to seep into cracks and crevices, to get underneath and saturate shingles, all the while working its way back up the roof for several feet. Once inside any openings, moisture freezes and expands and then thaws and contracts, as the temperature fluctuates.

  • Flashing is strips of waterproof material installed around vents, skylights, dormers, chimneys or any structure that penetrates the rooftop. It helps keep out moisture as well as direct water flow around a structure. Again, melted snow and ice have a way of seeping into small gaps around warn-out, loose or separated flashing. On the next cold day, moisture freezes and expands, pushing roofing material apart, exaggerating openings and creating hard-to-locate leaks. As the temperature rises, frozen moisture thaws and contracts. If it doesn’t evaporate, this cycle is repeated.

Acceleration of Existing Issues

During winter, your roof endures many cycles of this freeze-thaw-freeze process. Compound that with existing damage and other defects and your roof will deteriorate at a faster speed than it would with general wear and tear. For example, a hail impact on a shingle becomes bigger and much worse once water gets in, freezes and expands. It’s these tiny holes, bruises, and hairline cracks and crevices that lead to leaks, and if undetected, leaks result in serious long-term damage, including mold, destroyed insulation and rotting rafters.

Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

It becomes difficult to do any replacement or repairs while snow and ice are on your roof, and major fixes usually have to wait until it’s warm enough to melt them. That’s why it’s so important to take care of any issues before the temperature drops.
At Ashco Exteriors, we understand that every roof is different. As experienced, trained specialists, we’ll get to know your roof, keep an eye on things and catch issues early so they don’t turn into bigger problems down the road. Put your mind at ease with a comprehensive evaluation you can rely on to make informed decisions.

Schedule your free 7-point roof inspection today!