It’s January, which means that winter weather in Billings is likely to stick around for a few more months. While you might be enjoying the time with activities like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, your roof might not be having as much fun. That’s because snow can be pretty heavy, and if you allow it to build up on your Billings roofing, there is a chance you could have some serious damage.
Lots of snow on the roof, coupled with poor insulation in the attic, could lead to the snow melting from the peak of the roof, then freezing again as it reaches the colder outer edges. This forms what is referred to as an ice dam, a dangerous blockage that doesn’t allow snowmelt to get to the gutters. If and when more snow melts, it could pool up on the roof side of the ice dam, and standing water is likely to cause roof leaks if left for prolonged periods of time. The easiest way to spot ice dams is the presence of icicles hanging over your roof. If you see them, talk to a Billings roofing contractor about how to fix it in both the short- and long-term.
Another easy way to identify potential roof damage from snow is to just look up there once in a while. If you see buildup of 18 inches or more on top of the roof, it’s likely putting a serious strain on your roofing. The National Weather Service calculates that 18 inches of snow can put as much as 90 pounds per square foot of strain on a roof. While your roof may be able to hold up for a short period of time, the longer the snow sits on the roof, the more dangerous it becomes.
The winter months aren’t a season when people spend a lot of time outdoors, but you can even identify some of the signs of excessive snow load from inside. Listen for loud cracking or popping sounds, check for roof leaks or sagging areas of the roof from the attic, look for cracks in walls or masonry, and pay attention to doors and windows that previously opened easily and now are “stuck” or difficult to open.
If you see these signs, it’s important not to panic, and to call a roofing contractor right away to help you identify ways to clear the roof (safely) and/or ways to reinforce the strength of your Billings roofing.