How to prevent roof problems in WNY winters

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-30 18:16:22-05

Winters in Western New York are known for snow and ice. But those stretches between storms, when temperatures climb and the area essentially thaws out, can also cause serious problems for homeowners.

"This year we have had a significant freeze-thaw cycle," explained Mike Washington, president of Ivy Lea Construction in North Tonawanda. "A lot of thaw lately. Coming up, it looks like a lot of snow coming down."

The "freeze-thaw cycle", as Washington calls it, can cause ice to build up on the edge of roofs. These ice dams can push underneath shingles and create leaks in roofs causing leaks. That can cause a host of problems.

So what can homeowners do to prevent these sorts of issues?

Oftentimes the root of the problem, according to Washington, is poor insulation inside the home. Heat is unintentionally trapped in the attic which can cause roof snow to melt faster.

"If you can control the heat loss, you should have less ice damming to none," Washington said. "We really like to go after the source control to actually go after where the heat loss is coming from to actually stop the ice melt which will cause less ice in your gutter and damming. A lot of times that will fix the problem itself without replacing the roof."

Other common solutions for outside the home like heat wires or salting the roof can help, but, according to Washington, those are more like putting a band-aid on the problem. Replacing or adding insulation addresses the root of the issue.