Winter is coming and for homeowners across the UK, it’s time to start considering how the adverse weather can affect your property. One cause for concern is the roof, a section of the home vulnerable to the elements and awkward to maintain care of.
If you aren’t sufficiently prepared, substantial ice build-up and water damage can wreak havoc with the building. There’s various ways to minimise the chances of this happening, although to prevent serious damage, it’s recommended to employ a professional building company who offer loft and roofing solutions.
If possible, it’s advisable to remove snow from the roof before too much accumulates. Although in most cases this won’t cause severe damage, there is a risk of roof collapse from excessive weight. How to tackle the problem will vary for different types of roof.
If sloped, it’s best to brush off excess snow with a specifically designed extended rake – this is opposed to using a ladder which can be dangerous in the winter season. Banging the rooftop to shake off the snow is also ill-advised in case this damages individual shingles.
Flat roofs are more capable of dealing with additional weight, although are trickier to care for. If you’re overly concerned, it may be best to employ a certified snow clearance service.
In sub-zero temperatures, the problem of ‘ice-dams’ can emerge on sloped roofs. They materialise when melted snow runs down from the roof and then refreezes again near the edge. This creates an ice overhang, causing major problems for the building structure and roof in particular.
The main causes of ice-dams are inadequate insulation where snow melts on some parts of the roof but not others. To help prevent their formation, distribute heat evenly by increasing loft ventilation, sealing off air leaks and removing excess snow from all parts of the roof.
Although it’s advisable to clear out gutters throughout the year, this is particularly important at winter. Gutters clogged with leaves and other debris will prevent snow and water from flowing off the roof adequately.
If rain collects in the gutter, the water will turn into heavy ice when temperatures hit freezing point. This can even cause some gutters to collapse under the increased weight. They need to be properly pitched in order to drain liquids sufficiently.
An efficiently designed loft will help protect your roof from winter damage internally. However, it’s important to remember that many lofts were constructed decades ago and don’t have the same insulation qualities of a modern-day conversion.
During frosty weather, condensation can come through the roof due to poor insulation within the loft. The build-up of moisture will generate mould and damp over time which, if unchecked, will subsequently cause rot and structural damage to the roof itself.
Ensure your loft is properly prepared for the winter period by utilising the services of a professional construction company. Companies accredited by the FMB and TrustMark are recommended as this proves they comply with UK safety standards.