Three Cold Weather Roofing Tips

House in winter covered in snow.

Although winters in the Seattle area are typically mild, the weather presents some challenges when it comes to maintaining your roof. To help you plan for and cope with cold weather, here are three tips that you should keep in mind.

1. Remove Ice Dams Safely

Ice dams typically form along the edges of your roof, but they can also develop in other areas. They commonly occur when sleet or snow melts, flows toward the gutters and encounters freezing temperatures. Ice dams can prevent runoff from draining properly, and this can lead to water being forced under your shingles. Water can damage your roof decking, but it can also penetrate the interior of your home.

Here’s how to remove an ice dam safely.

  • Purchase an ice melt with a calcium chloride base. Be careful that you do not inadvertently purchase sodium chloride ice melt, and do not use rock salt. Sodium chloride and rock salt can damage your roof.

  • Place the ice melt in a nylon stocking and tie the end.

  • Cover plants and shrubs near the downspouts or gutters with lightweight tarps to protect them from the calcium chloride. Do not remove the tarps until you are no longer using the ice melt.

  • Carefully drape the nylon stocking over the ice dam in a position that will allow the melt to carve a channel in the ice.

2. If Possible, Postpone Replacing Your Asphalt Shingles Until Spring

It is true that roofers work in the winter, but competent roofers try to avoid replacing asphalt shingles when the weather is cold.

  • Cold weather makes the shingles brittle, so there is more likelihood of breakage occurring during the installation process.

  • The biggest problem, however, is that each strip of shingles has an adhesive backing that needs heat to seal properly. Although the bond will usually form sufficiently once warm weather arrives, in the interim, the new shingles will be more prone to leaks and could be blown off by the wind. If it is necessary to install shingles in the winter, there are specific steps that roofers can take to create an immediate bond, but make sure that you hire a reputable contractor. Some inexperienced roofers use techniques to secure the shingles that could jeopardize the manufacturer's warranty on your new shingles.

3. Avoid Getting on Your Roof During the Winter

Regardless of the season, unless you have the training, experience, and proper equipment, you should avoid getting on your roof. However, it is even more critical to stay off your roof in the winter.

  • Cold weather will make your shingles brittle, increasing the likelihood that you could damage them just by walking on them. This can result in leaks that could potentially reach the interior of your home.

  • Roofing is a dangerous occupation in any season, but a roof slick with ice, snow, or even rain, increases the danger.

  • Even placing a ladder securely can be challenging if the ground is frozen or slick.

For all of your roofing needs, contact Pro Roofing NW at(888) 599-8591.

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