Leaking Roof after a Snowstorm
No matter the size of your house, the last thing you'd wish for is a roof leak, especially after a snowstorm. Imagine you've invited your family for a weekend, and just when you have served them dinner, a mother of all snowstorms starts to fall. As the storm intensifies, you start noticing people staring at the water dripping from the ceiling to the center of your living room. A few minutes later, you start seeing water trickling from the walls and then from the roof above the bay window!
Now everyone in the house seems tensed, and all you can do is dash into the kitchen and grab a drip bucket. You try to explain that this has never happened before, but from the way you’re setting the drip bucket, it seems like you have some experience with such matters. Now the question that keeps ringing in your mind is; Why is your roof leaking after a snowstorm?
Which are the Most Common Roof Leak Causes After a Storm?
1. Broken Shingles
Disintegrated shingles cause many leakages after a storm. The intensity of the snow can cause shingles to break, and you may find them littering in your yard.
2. Poorly Sealed Valleys
Valleys are supposed to be sloped and correctly sealed since they help join two planes of the roof. If they are not sealed well, they can lift, crack, or be eroded by ice over time and cause leakages in your home.
3. Cracked Flashing
The small pieces of metal installed beneath the shingles may also cause leakages in your house. When tar used to seal the flashing together is exposed to harsh conditions such as a snowstorm, it may corrode and leave the flashing exposed.
4. Clogged Gutters
While gutters are meant to help water drain away from the roof, they may be the reason your roof is leaking. If the gutters are clogged by dirt, debris, or birds’ droppings, they may cause water to pool and infiltrate into any opening on your roof.
5. An Ice Dam Buildup
This is basically a ridge of ice that accumulates at the roof's edge, preventing melting ice from draining off. It is attributed to many roof leaks in homes, especially in areas where snowstorms are common.
Should You File a Claim in case of a Leaky Roof after a Storm?
Yes, you should. If you notice any leakages from your roof, you must file a claim with your insurance company. If you don’t, you might end up selling the house to get money to fix the roof! However, the question you should answer is; will your homeowner insurance policy cover the storm damage?
Homeowners insurance covers damages that are outside your control. Roof damage will be covered if a peril causes it. However, before you get reimbursed for any roof damages, you must prove that your roof was properly maintained and that the damage occurred accidentally.
Another thing that you should consider before you file a claim is the size of your deductible. For example, if your homeowner insurance policies feature a deductible that costs $1,000,000, and the cost of repair is $500,000, you won't get any reimbursement. As such, it would be prudent not to make a claim. Unless your repair costs are more than your deductible, it might be cheaper for you to pay for the roof repairs.
What is Ice Damming?
This is a phrase used to describe a phenomenon where ice solidifies at the roof's edge, preventing water from draining off the roof. If you thought this has something to do with America’s largest rodents, sorry, it does not involve beavers. If you take a gaze at your roof after a storm and you note that there is a big chunk of ice at the edge of the roof, you might be having an ice dam problem.
An ice dam makes melting water from the top of the rooftop pool at the edges. It also weighs hundreds of pounds, which can compromise the roof structure. It can lead to molds and mildew growth or allow water to infiltrate into the roof system. It is mainly caused by nonuniform roof surface temperature, air leakage through the walls, and poor ventilation.
How to Prevent Ice Damming
Clogged gutters may not cause ice dams but can make the situation worse. If the ice on the roof melts, but the water can’t drain off because the gutters are clogged by debris and leaves, an ice dam will build up. One way to ensure that your gutters don't contribute to ice damming is to clean them thoroughly at all times.
Snow Roof Rake
After heavy snowfalls, get out your long-handled roof rake and use it to get rid of the snow at the edge of the roof. Removing at least 4 feet of snow from the roof can help prevent ice damming. Remember to remove the snow with moderation, as applying more pressure can see you scrap out the shingles.
Ice Melt Wires
If you’ve experienced ice buildup in the past, running ice melt wires on your roof can help melt already-formed ice dams to minimize buildup. Additionally, these wires provide ice melts with a path to drain off. Rather than pooling behind the ice dam, water will follow the wires and drain into the gutters then into the ground. Ice melt wires are usually installed along the eaves, around chimneys, in the valleys, and around skylights.
Never Climb on the Roof to Shovel
It doesn’t matter whether you are the shoveling campion in your state! Never try to shovel ice from your roof. Since ice dams collect around the edges of the roof, climbing up there can be risky, and you might end up injuring yourself. If you can't use the preventions mentioned above, please seek the services of a qualified professional.