How Well Did Your Roof Hold Up This Winter?

Winter is nearly over, and for many of us, that means an end to months of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. We’ve been able to stay safely inside during the worst of the weather, but our roofs are not so lucky. Old Man Winter has dished out quite a bit over the last couple months, and even though roofs are engineered to withstand harsh conditions, they eventually wear down and can experience damage during a difficult winter.

Now that the worst is behind us, it’s time to perform an annual roof inspection to see how well it held up. Although it may seem like there’s plenty of time to complete this task, it’s important to check for roof damage – and make necessary repairs – before the spring rains arrive. Here are some common problems that may require your attention.

Vents and Pipes

A lot of roof problems are a result of improper ventilation in the attic. Ice dams, for instance, are a common concern and a telltale sign of attic airflow issues. Make sure attic vents aren’t blocked or damaged, and that insulation is properly applied throughout the attic. Additionally, check around both vents and pipes to ensure they are properly sealed. When gaps are present, moisture enters and creates a favorable environment for mold and mildew growth. Use weatherstripping, caulking, or foam rubber to fill any holes or gaps. It’s advised to check the attic on a bright day, as the incoming shafts of sunlight will make it easier to detect leaks.

Attic Dampness

While you’re in the attic, it’s important to look for leaks or water damage. Signs of this include dark spots on the underside of the roof deck or on insulation, as well as areas of dampness. If you notice wetness or water stains, there’s likely a problem with the shingles, so be sure to carefully investigate that part of the roof.


Missing and damaged shingles are a common post-winter problem. Look around the yard for any shingles that may have blown off the roof during high wind activity. Then head up on the roof, if you’re comfortable, or hire a professional roof inspector for a thorough review. If you encountered ice dams over the winter, you likely will have some areas that require repair. Ice dams back up under the shingles, lifting them and sometimes breaking them. Even if they resist physical damage, dirt and other debris will work its way beneath the shingle, prohibiting it from lying flat and sealing to the roof. Roofs absent of ice dams also may experience damage. The constant freeze-thaw cycle can result in the cracking or breaking of shingles.

If you detect any problems during your attic and roof inspection, be sure to address them quickly. What might seem like an inconvenience now can quickly escalate into a very costly and time-consuming nightmare if left unaddressed. A few missing shingles might not seem like an urgent matter, but those shingles are in place for a reason. When they are broken or missing, your roof is exposed to moisture that will eventually lead to leaking and water damage. If the problem persists long enough, you’ll no longer be looking at repairing shingles; you’ll need a roof replacement.

If you require roof installation services, Schaefer Exteriors is here to help. Since 1977, we’ve served the Mid-Atlantic region with honest and high-quality roofing installations and a customer-driven approach that makes your project our project.

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