Spring is right around the corner, which means the temperature is starting to rise, the birds are chirping, and the trees are starting to show little signs of life. But we are not out of the woods yet. Winter still has a trick or two up its sleeve. In fact, it is supposed to drop below freezing and snow a few days this week. Then other days it is supposed to be warm and sunny. This constant flux in temperature may provide moments of relief from the freezing winter weather we have all grown so tired of, but it can also wreak havoc on your house.
The Freeze-Thaw Cycle and Water Damage
- Roof Damage: When water finds its way into cracks in your roof, that is bad enough. When this water freezes, its volume increases and causes more damage and increasing the size of the crack. Then the ice thaws and refreezes and the crack is widened some more. This is what is known as the freeze-thaw cycle. Repeated cycles of freezing and thawing continue to deteriorate your roof, leading to water damage. To prevent this, have your roof inspected annually. This will help locate small problems before they grow to cause big issues for you and your home.
- Ice Dams: As we have explained before, this freeze-thaw cycle is also partially responsible for ice dams. After a snow storm, when the temperature starts to rise, the snow on your roof begins to melt and work its way towards your gutters. Sometimes, however, this melted snow will refreeze at the edge of your roof, forming ice dams and preventing water from properly draining. With nowhere else to go, the water will begin to back up under your shingles and into your attic, causing water damage.
- Runoff: When the snow on your roof melts, where does it go? Down! While this may not always be a problem, there are instances where it can cause water damage. 1) When your gutters are clogged with debris and ice, runoff has nowhere to go. Similar to ice dams, the melted snow will find its way under your shingles and into your attic. This is why it is so important to clean your gutters regularly. 2) When melted snow and ice do not find their way to your gutters and drain off the side of your roof, water can pool around your foundation and seep into the basement. To prevent this, put in backfill (dirt or top soil) to create a negative slope away from the house instead of toward the house, so melting ice and snow drain away from the foundation.
If you are the victim of winter water damage, you must first rectify the situation. Call a professional roofer or other home improvement specialist to examine your home and determine what caused the water damage. Meanwhile, it is also important to deal with the water damage in a timely fashion. For this, you should call a water damage restoration company, like ServiceMaster of Baltimore.
Hopefully you have found our blog, “The Freeze-Thaw Cycle and Water Damage,” informative and helpful. Continue to check back weekly for more helpful home improvement tips.