Why Is My Roof Leaking in Winter?

Truck in front of a house

Having your roof leaking in winter is not something most homeowners worry with the cold weather approaching. With holidays, and a new year, it is difficult to remember about the integrity of your roof.  However, if you do find a leak in your house during the winter, it is important to know that there are steps to take in order to get the proper repairs.

We know that it is common for a roof to leak in the winter, as many people come home to this. The first thought that comes to mind is the replacement of the roof, but that just adds to your stress. However, if you could figure out the cause of your roof leaking in the winter, you wouldn’t have to face this problem ever again.

So, the first step is to know the factors that cause roof leaking in winter.

Common Causes of a Roof Leaking in Winter

Your roof can leak in any season, not just winters. While winters bring with them some additional factors that cause roof leaking, some reasons can result in the same at any time of the year. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Compromised shingles

This can be an issue of poor workmanship and faulty materials. Compromised shingles can also be a result of a recent storm. Damaged shingles provide a way to rainwater to go through and leak through the ceiling.

Poor Installation of Roof

The best recommendation you can get from an expert is to get proper installation services. Sometimes, homeowners focus too much on the quality of the materials. However, material quality really does not matter much when your installers aren’t professional or don’t know much about workmanship. During, and after your roofing project, be on the lookout for certain signs of a bad roofing job.

Improper Ventilation

We know that rooms with more moisture need proper ventilation. Knowing and yet ignoring this fact alone, you can experience roof leakage issues. The moisture makes its place in the vents and then causes further leakage – eventually weakening the roof.

Compromised Valley

It is a sloped path at exactly the point where roof angles change. A punctured valley can cause the roof to leak. The damage to the valley can be due to accidents or maybe you are neglecting maintenance for years. Therefore, it is vital to keep a check on your roof and get the maintenance every now and then.

Major Causes of Roof Leaking in Winter

Winter can wreak havoc on the integrity of your roof structure. You can be all excited for Christmas and holidays, but the roof leakage can come as a big shock. Here are a few reasons behind a leaking roof in winters:

Ice Dams

This is one of the main causes of winter roof leaking. If it is snow falling, the poor insulation of your roof is going to show its signs in winter. The poor ventilation system will cause condensation due to the warm temperature in the attic. Further, the ice on the roof starts melting and accumulating in gutters – resulting in ice dams. These ice dams melt in sunlight, the water backs up in the shingles, and eventually, your roof starts leaking.

You can avoid this issue from the beginning by hiring a professional contractor for roof installation. Otherwise, if there are any ice dams, you can use a long-handled roof rake or try blowing cold air on the snow for keeping the water frozen.

Attic condensation

If there are no ice dams, then condensation can take place in your attic. It is a major reason for roof leaks. Most often, it won’t even leak and condense silently – resulting in severe damage to your roof. The reason for attic condensation can be the same as it’s for ice dams. However, you have to deal with both of them.

So, what is the reason for this condensation?

The problem can be with water vapor. It makes its way into the attic, causes condensation and then other issues, such as leaking and the formation of mold. Attic condensation is mostly caused by the moisture from the rooms, such as kitchens and bathrooms. They are the main sources of creating steam and when the moisture goes up in the vent, and the roof is not insulated, it causes further issues.

Roof Vents without a Filter

If you did not pay attention during the installation of your roof, the chances are that you are going to face this problem every winter. The vents without a filter will give way to snow. It will snake its way into the vents. Once the snow starts melting, the roof will start dripping.

Well, you may consider this problem as only a winter issue because it only happens during this season. But remember that it damages the roof slowly, and ultimately, the roof starts falling apart. So, always have a maintenance plan or routine inspection to avoid any long-term damages.

How to identify the main culprit?

Roof leakage tells you that there is something wrong with your roof. But what if there is no leakage and the condensation in the attic is still destroying the roof? It is a matter of concern and if you didn’t think about it before, you must start thinking about it now.

Immediate Steps to Take

Yes, the roof contractor or maintenance team might not be available instantly. Probably, the winter season is still at its peak and they might not show up until it gets better. In such circumstances, you have to take some immediate steps to reduce the frustration. Of course, going out and leaving home is not the solution to the problem.

Therefore, you have to follow a few steps as an immediate action to save your floor from the damage too.

    • Set up the towels, but keep changing or replacing them.
    • Collect the leaking water in a bucket.
    • Turn down the heat to prevent snow from melting.

Remember that this is just a quick remedy to handle the leaking roof. You must start looking for repair services. Getting a roof replacement or repairing its broken parts may be difficult during a heavy snow season. But you must plan it for the next season in advance.

How to deal with the roof leak?

First of all, don’t leave room for roof leaks. How can you do that? Well, hire the right professionals for installation. You can do it during renovation or try to build a strong roof with proper ventilation and insulation by making it a part of the construction plan. Other than that, the following are some of the best ways to prevent the roof from leaking.

Prevention tactics

    • Insulation of the roof: You must ensure that the roof is fully insulated for facing any harsh climate changes. It will save you heating and cooling costs too.
    • Routine inspection of roof: It is quite possible that you don’t see any signs of roof leaking right now. Still, inspection is an important part of the maintenance plan. It can help you catch the issues before they worsen.
    • Proper ventilation: Pay attention to the ventilation system at your home. Fix it as soon as possible if it is blocked.
    • Clean gutters: Debris in the gutters can also destroy shingles and roof. So, keep them clean too.
    • Pay close attention to the roof flashings: Tighten up the flashings of the roof from vents, chimneys, or skylights to reduce the damages due to water.

Steps to repairing your roof leak in winter

The damage has been done and there is no way you can turn back time. However, here are a few things you can do to repair the damage.  

    • Call a professional: If you think you have made a mistake before by using poor quality material for roof installation, do not repeat it. Contact the professionals or a reputed company for fixing all the damages. In the case of complete roof replacement, make sure you have done your research before hiring the company.
    • Home audit: Let the company audit your home and identify the problem. They will provide you a complete report including the required repairs and the costs involved.
    • Decide the budget: Plan yourbudget according to the audit report.
    • Get them started on fixing the damage: Start the work and be there to ask questions and monitor the work progress.
    • Include insulation of the attic in the plan: This time make sure you add insulation of the attic in the roof repair plan. It will help the roof fight the severest weather conditions.

Bottom Line

Lastly, it is important to learn about winter roof repair. Sometimes, it is also hard to find maintenance services during the roofing company’s offseason. At Above the Rest Roofing and Siding, we work year round. If the weather is warm enough we will help with your roof repairs. However, if you are getting routine inspections, roof leaking should not become a nightmare for you in winters. Don’t forget that your home needs attention. Without maintenance, it will lose its beauty, but more importantly, it will start showing signs of damage and wear and tear. Pay attention to the small damages and fix them as soon as possible instead of waiting for them to turn into a constant source of frustration for you and your family. Contact the expert CT Roofing Contractors today.