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As snow cover shrinks, roof problems may arise

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Snow Damaged Roof

STONEFORT (WSIL) -- A lot of us have probably been focusing on the roads with all this snow, but what about your roof?

Terri Gwaltney, the CEO of Integrity Roofing and Exteriors, says all that snow sitting up on your roof, might be slowly doing damage to your home.

"Most people don't realize that shingles are designed to shed water. They're not water proof."

The extensive cold has kept a blanket of snow on most roofs for several days now, increasing the risk of moisture getting under your shingles.

While the duration of your roof's snow pack is important, so is the depth.

"Most of your flashings that are going to be around like your skylights, your chimneys, and how you'll address a wall, are about four and a half to five inches tall. So you start getting more than 5 and a half inches, potentially water can actually get behind some of those because it's uncommon."

Moisture is Gwaltney's biggest concern, but if your home was built before 1950, you may have more to worry about.

"In homes prior to 1950, a lot of them originally had a wood shake roof, like you'd see on a cabin. So, they never were designed, really, initially to have plywood decking. So, not only were they not engineered for weight load, but now you put plywood, you put shingles, and now you start piling snow on top of it, and those are very susceptible to snapping rafters in the attic and cracking, and that's one of the things people need to look for."

With warm temperatures set to melt the snow in the coming days, there are some proactive steps you can take.

"Obviously try to do this safely because you can't get on your roof, but if you can remove some of the snow that's around penetrations and vents that are on your roof, snow that's sitting up next to a wall before all of that starts melting, that water's going to go somewhere, and it's going to go in a place that never was designed to be waterproof."

He says if you have any areas of concern on your roof, take a picture from the ground, it'll help a professional inspect any leaks, when the snow melts.

John Ross

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