Winter storms heading your way? Snowy, icy weather can cause serious siding and roof damage to Detroit and Ann Arbor homes, so it’s essential to know how to protect your property. That starts with understanding how wintery elements can impact your house, and how to spot problems right away before they can do more damage.
Here’s what you need to know.
How Winter Weather Affects Your Roof and Siding
Cold weather is particularly harsh on houses because there are so many ways it can wear down your roof shingles, gutters, and siding.
A light dusting of snow can look pretty and feel festive—but when winter delivers several inches of the wet snow that’s common here in Michigan, your home can be at risk.
- An average snow weighs about one pound per inch, but wet snow has more water content, so it’s heavier.
- A strong, well-crafted roof can handle about 20 pounds of weight, but an older or damaged roof is less resilient.
- Heavy snow and ice can cause a weak roof to cave in.
- Even a few inches of snow can melt into cracked roof shingles, causing water damage.
Tip: Rather than allow snow to pile on the roof, sweep it off gently with a snow rake. (Or hire a seasoned pro to do it for you.)
If the greater Detroit area is experiencing blizzard conditions, then that means your roof and siding may be at risk of all the damage that high winds can cause.
- Falling objects (such as heavy branches) can crack roof shingles, tear off gutters, and potentially even break through into the attic.
- Roof shingles, flashing and other roofing elements may be pulled up and blown away.
- Siding boards can loosen, exposing the structural elements underneath.
- Wind-blown debris can strike siding, resulting in breakage.
Tip: To help prevent such issues, store away loose outdoor furnishings to protect siding from impacts. Trim tree branches well away from your roof before winter arrives.
Ice Dams and Icicles
As temperatures rise and fall throughout the winter, you may end up with ice forming atop your roof. Freezing rain and sleet can also contribute to too much ice atop your roof. The sun and your home’s heat melt snow and ice during the day, then the water refreezes at night. This leads to plenty of problems.
- Ice dams can form at the edge of the roof, blocking gutters and forcing precipitation to remain on the roof, leading to leaks.
- Gutters can get filled with heavy ice until they collapse under the weight.
- Large icicles can form, then loosen and fall, posing a risk to anyone who walks beneath them.
- Ice dams and icicles can also weaken and crack roof shingles.
Tip: Gutter guards can help prevent ice from freezing inside gutter systems. Proper roof insulation can help prevent ice dams and icicles from forming.
Excess Moisture and Leaks
Ultimately, the most serious concern about snow, ice, freezing rain, sleet, and winter winds is that these elements can expose you to costly water damage.
- Winter weather can loosen, crack and break roofing and siding, leaving your home’s structure vulnerable to moisture intrusion.
- Snow, ice, and heavy branches can cause holes in your roof, allowing precipitation to get into your attic.
- Loose or weakened roofing and siding can expose insulation to dampness, which can ruin it.
- Moisture leaks also lead to problems with mold and mildew, which damage your property, promote wood rot, and make your home’s air unhealthy to breathe.
Tip: Proper maintenance of your roof and siding can help keep your house weather-tight and waterproof.
How to Check Your Home for Storm Damage
When your roofing and siding are marred, your home can be at risk of costly problems, including:
- Dangerous wood rot
- Structural damage
- Exposure to leaks
- Higher heating and cooling bills
- Unhealthy indoor air quality
Follow this handy checklist for inspecting your property for issues caused by winter weather.
Inspect the Roof
There are two ways to check a roof for winter damage:
- Check the roof safely from the ground. Take binoculars and walk a distance from your house to get a good view of the roof. Search for missing roof shingles, loose flashing, and bald spots.
- Hire a pro roofer to climb atop the roof. It’s best to bring in a pro, because they have the equipment needed to do the inspection safely, especially during winter when your roofing is extra slippery. And they know what to look for as they assess what your roof needs.
Look Around the Attic
Because roofing problems often show up inside your house, it’s important to do a check of the attic. Look for signs that water is sneaking in:
- Sunlight or sky visible through the roofing
- Damp insulation
- Mold spots
- Musty odors
- Rotted wood
Walk around the house’s perimeter, looking at your siding boards. Depending on whether you have wood, brick, vinyl, or fiber cement, different problems can arise. If there’s damage, you’ll likely see one or more of these siding issues:
- Broken, cracked or loose boards
- Warping or rippling
- Peeling, bubbling paint
- Wood rot
- Streaks of rust
- Missing mortar or caulking
Look for Other Issues
Complete your inspection by being sure gutters, windows, doors, and landscaping are all in proper shape.
Fix Exterior Damage ASAP!
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the things that need fixing. The longer you let a problem remain unaddressed, the worse it gets—and you’ll end up with more costly and time-consuming damage to deal with. Have your home repairs done quickly, by local professionals with a track record of delighting their customers.
Keep Your Home Secure with Lasting Roofing and Siding
Protect your home from Michigan’s harsh winter storms, and give it a facelift with gorgeous roofing and siding choices installed by the pros at John McCarter Construction. Discover how our roof repair/replacement and siding installation services can transform your property into a beautiful, easy to care for oasis in the greater Detroit area.