You have made it through spring, summer and fall without any issues with your roof. Unfortunately, after the temperatures drop, the snow falls and ice begins to form, you notice a fresh leak stain forming on the interior ceilings of your home. How could your roof begin leaking during the winter if it did not leak during those wet months prior? Here, you will learn a few causes of winter leaking and how to pinpoint the problem.
Why in the Winter?
Roofing leaks that begin to be an issue during the winter are generally caused by;
- Attic condensation
- Ice dams in the gutters
- The freeze thaw cycles causing metal to expand and contract
- Failing shingles that could not withstand the abuse of winter weather
Pinpoint the Exact Source
Before you can even begin to find out what is causing the leak, you must first find out exactly where the water is entering your home. To do this, you will have to go into your attic with a bright light, chalk, pen and paper. Draw a diagram of your attic space so that you can mark any water damaged areas with the pen as you inspect the attic.
Start at one corner of the attic and work side to side inspecting the roofing, rafters and insulation for any signs of water damage. Water damaged wood will appear slightly darker than surrounding wood for new stains and much darker for older and further damaged stains.
When you find an area that appears discolored, feel it to see if the wood is damp. In cold attics you can easily learn of the wood is wet to the touch because it is cooler than the surrounding wood. Mark each section of damage that you find with chalk and mark it on your diagram.
Note: Pay special attention to the areas around the chimney, stacks and vents in the attic. These are the areas that are most prone to leakage.
Make the Repairs
Water damage that is caused by leaks around the chimney, vents or stacks can usually be sealed using roofing sealant. Apply a thick coat of sealant around the trouble zone and keep a close eye on the area to be sure that it is no longer leaking.
Damage that is caused by leaks in other areas of the roof may require a bit more work. This type of work is usually on the exterior side of the roof. It could be caused by damaged or missing shingles. You will have to inspect the outside of the roof and replace any missing or damaged shingles to stop the water from entering your home.
If you did not find any leaks whatsoever, the water damage on the interior ceiling could be caused by condensation forming on the underside of the roof, running down the rafters and soaking into the ceiling. The only way to stop this problem is to have the attic insulated and improve the ventilation system.
Talk with your local roofing professional (such as one from Ideal Construction) to learn more about what could be causing the water leaks in the roof on your home. He or she will be able to better guide you to finding the cause and make the necessary repairs before more damaged is caused.