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Winter should be spent safely inside your home or workplace, not battling roof damage from pesky leaks caused by increased precipitation. You may be asking yourself; how do I stop my roof from leaking this winter? 

Let’s look at some of the causes behind roof leaks and how you can prevent it this winter 

The Main Causes of Leaky Roofs  

While there are many circumstances that could cause a roof to being leaking, these issues usually occur due to four key reasons 

  1. Ice dams: When snow builds up on roofs and then melts, the runoff can create ridges of ice called ice dams. As more water builds up on the roof and refreezes, it can begin to work its way up under roof coverings, causing water to penetrate the waterproofing system of even stronger roofing systems. 
  1. Damaged roofing systems: Cracks or holes in a roof can be hard to spot without a proper inspection. When small rainstorms don’t lead to leaks, it can be easy to assume that your roof is fully protected. However, issues with roof seams and damaged shingles can lead to leaks during winter that need an immediate fix, especially if ice forms in those areas and expands. 
  1. Clogged gutters: It’s not just roofs that need to be protected in winter – gutter systems are also at risk for problems. If gutters become clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris, it can lead to ice and water buildup.  
  1. Cracked membranes and flashing issues: Roof flashing is a material installed on roofs to direct water away from critical areas of the roof, like where the plane of a roof meets a wall. Because winter snow doesn’t always fall vertically, it can enter cracks in the flashing and lead to water inside the building. The same is true for any problems with your roofing membranes.  

How Do I Stop my Roof from Leaking? 

The first thing you should do to prevent roof leaks is to perform an inspection. Taking note of any problem that may lead to leaks before the first winter snow should be a priority. For example, if your roof and gutters tend to have a buildup of icicles in the winter, it’s an indication that ice dams could become a problem. 

Once complete, you can take measures to repair any cracks, holes or other damage and prepare your roof for winter. You can also take additional measures such as replacing insulation in attic spaces or having your gutters and downspouts cleared professionally.  

However, many actions will need to be repeated throughout winter to ensure complete protection.  

Are There Long-Term Solutions? 

Self-regulating roof de-icing systems are one solution to maintain a continuous path for melting water to drain safely. 

Self-regulating roof heating cables can be installed for a variety of climates and are designed to handle severe weather, such as high wind speeds, low temperatures and heavy snow loads. These systems are also compatible with roof types, including: 

  • Shingle 
  • Rubber 
  • Tar 
  • Bitumen 
  • Wood 
  • Metal  
  • Plastic 

Even in non-traditional or complex roofing systems, there is usually an option to protect roofs and keep ice melting.  

Interested in learning more about how you can install a self-regulating system? Connect with an nVent RAYCHEM Winter Expert today.  

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