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4 Reasons Your Roof Might Leak in Winter and What to Do about It

If it’s winter, your family is probably spending 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 that a roof leaks in the colder months? It’s important to know so you can safeguard your home and your family against such a costly inconvenience.

Here are four key reasons your roof might leak during the colder months of the year. These are great things to check on before the next winter storm - and definitely before another year.

  1. Ice Dams

First, what is an ice dam? The term refers to a solid block of ice that has obstructed your roof and therefore prevented water from running off of it - just as a dam stops water in nature. Dams may have formed on your home’s roof because of snow that initially melted and then froze again. The result is a hard dam that causes water to gather and sit, eventually wearing through the roof and causing a leak. Stop dams from happening by making sure the warmth of your attic is properly sealed off so snow does not melt and refreeze.

  1. Damaged Roof Shingles

Has a bad storm recently hit your neighborhood with high winds? Damage to shingles on top of your home, no matter what caused them, can unfortunately result in a leaky roof. To stop this from occurring, make sure that your roof is in good condition and shingles are replaced if need be before winter weather sets in.

  1. 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 fall and winter months.

  1. Cracked Flashing

Professionals advise installing flashing for better protection. If the flashing on your roof shows signs of cracking or damage, water can seep through. Flashing is the “underpinning” of a roof, the part that seals off the joints so that pesky precipitation cannot sneak into the home. Check your flashing before winter sets in to ensure it’s not damaged.

Any instance with excessive precipitation can lead to a compromised and leaky roof in the winter — especially if clogged gutters, cracked flashing, solid ice or inferior/damaged shingles are present.