What to Do if Your Roof is Leaking in the Winter

If it’s winter, your family probably spends plenty of time indoors, feeling cozy with a good book, a board game, or a hot drink. But nothing can spoil those feelings of peace and contentment at home like a leaky roof. So what are the most common reasons a roof leaks in the colder months? It’s vital to safeguard your home and your family against such a costly inconvenience.

Here are the key things to do if your roof leaks during the year’s colder months. These are great things to check on before the next winter storm – and definitely before another year. 

Preventing Winter Roof Leaks

You’re now on your way to looking out for roof leaks, but so far, you don’t notice any. That doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. Such leaks can occur, often without warning. Let’s explore a few ways you can prevent them from happening in the first place. Take measures to repair any damage before the cold weather sets in. You can also take additional measures, such as replacing insulation in attic spaces or having your gutters and downspouts clear. Many of these actions will need to be repeated throughout winter to ensure complete protection. 

How to Locate a Roof Leak

Usually, the first signs of a roof leak are the sight and sound of dripping water. However, there are other telltale signs you’re likely to discover, regardless of whether or not it’s raining. These include:

  • Musty odors in indoor spaces.
  • Water stains on your ceiling. 
  • Spots on your exterior walls.
  • Bulging patches on your interior walls.
  • Missing or warped shingles. 

These signs may point to a potential leak somewhere in your roof. Unfortunately, the first place you notice it might not be where the leak is actually located. For that, you have to do a bit more investigation. 

Do you Have an Ice Dam?

Most ice dams develop on the edge of your roof, but they may also form in other locations, depending on the slope, orientation, and style of your roof. Monitor the weather and your roof for signs of ice dam formations. 

  • Look closely at the exterior of your house – If the icicles are confined to the gutters, and there is no water trapped behind them, then an ice dam has likely not formed. Nonetheless, icicles can be a precursor to ice dams. Depending on their location and size, icicles may also pose a danger if they fall off. Whenever possible, and if safe to do so, remove icicles from the exterior of your home, making sure not to stand directly beneath them. If you cannot safely reach the icicles from the ground, consider hiring an expert to remove them. 
  • Check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of the exterior walls of your house. Water stains or moisture may indicate that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.  

Do you Have Clogged Gutters? 

Like all other parts of your home, gutters need to be cleaned regularly to operate properly. If you allow gutters to become clogged with leaves, sticks, and other debris, the results can be unpleasant when water or melted snow cannot leave the roof. Make sure you clear gutters regularly, especially during the fall and winter. 

Call a Professional

Knowledge is power, and if you’ve made it here, you’re better suited to figure out what’s going on with your roof than someone who can’t trouble themselves to do a little research. While this article is not a replacement for having a professional do an inspection, it is a tool to help you understand the situation. A commercial or residential roofing professional will use whatever tools are available to them to assess a problem. They may climb up on your roof, use a drone, a camera with powerful zoom capability, or just a pair of binoculars. The closer they can see the potential problem, the more likely they will be able to diagnose it. 

Claim your Free Roof Inspection  

So, if you’ve seen the signs of winter roof leaks and want answers, or if you want peace of mind, we encourage you to claim your free roof inspection today.