Reporting roof leaks right away might seem like a no brainer. Too often, we encounter situations where signs of a leaking roof are reported months after they are first observed. This is especially true during and following the winter months.
There are a number of reasons why someone might hold off on addressing a roof leak in the winter, especially if it isn’t active or causing a major disruption. December is a busy time, with many people gearing up for the holidays or travelling to visit family and friends. In the new year, people have new goals and focuses that can take up time and energy. There is also a misconception that roofing work cannot be completed in the winter, which may cause some to hold off on reporting and addressing their roof leak until spring.
The array of weather experienced during Southern Ontario winters can wreak havoc on a roof system. Snow and ice accumulating and melting repeatedly for up to six months lead to increased potential for water to infiltrate an interior space. Roof systems that are in great condition and do not have defects where water can enter should be able to stand up to the challenges the volatile weather throws their way. Though even seemingly solid roofs can be tested if significant weather fluctuations cause splits and cracks in the waterproofing system, through expansion and contraction.
The upcoming winter season is anticipated to be colder than average to start, with milder temperatures in the new year and overall increased precipitation. The unpredictability of the weather and threat of various storms will put your roof to the test. Even if smaller, less threatening signs of a roof leak appear, like blistering drywall, staining or soft spots, it is vital to have the area inspected and repaired before larger, more critical concerns arise.
When roof leaks are left unattended the potential for greater damage and destruction only grows. Even when a leak has not yet shown visible signs within a unit, it could be impacting elements behind the walls and ceilings on its path from the roof. Prolonged water infiltration can contribute to catastrophic effects on a building’s structural integrity. Severe issues like mold growth, property damages, and potentially displaced residents are also possibilities if roof leaks are left to fester.
Roofing work is most often associated with warmer temperatures and times of the year. There are limitations to the types of work that can be performed in the winter and considerations that must be made, however, roofing repairs and investigations of roof leaks are not off the table.
A wide variety of roofing materials come in winter grade versions, as manufacturers understand that construction and repairs cannot halt for half of the year. All roofing products and materials come with technical data sheets that feature useful information, like minimum application temperatures. Products that do not have winter grade versions and must be applied during periods of milder minimum temperatures are not used by reputable roofing companies when the weather does not allow.
As mentioned above, winters in Southern Ontario are also extremely unpredictable. It isn’t uncommon to have stretches of mild temperatures and dry weather that may be more suitable for the required repairs. Closely monitoring the weather and ensuring any required repairs are scheduled on a temperate day is usually feasible. Investigating and diagnosing the root of the leak issue can almost always be completed at any point during the winter. Limitations to this process would be if it was not able to be completed in a safe manner, such as cases where there are extreme winds or heavy snow accumulation on sloped roof surfaces.
Roof leaks can’t always be detected before they become a major interior issue, however, completing an overall inspection of the roof surfaces before heavy snow and ice accumulation occurs is the best way to mitigate leaks.
No matter what time of year, always ensure leaks are being addressed as soon as they are noticed. You will never be sorry for investigating a roof leak too soon.