Rain Could Spell Trouble for Roofs

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It started with heavy snowfall over the weekend, dumping more than a foot in some areas. Then it was bitter cold. Friday, temperatures started to warm and rain started to fall.

The combination could spell trouble for your roof.

"[The rain] absorbs into that snow that's already there and makes it heavier," said Bob Hoag, a salesperson at CS Roofing Company. "There's nowhere for the water to go."

Instead of draining, the water pools up under the shingles, Hoag said, before seeping inside the structure.

"It's gonna go right back behind the shingles and start dripping in the walls," said Charlie Herget, a foreman working to clear a roof in Lansing. "There's going to be wall damage, drywall damage, floor damage. It's gonna be a lot of damage."

Water damage is one of two concerns roofers have with this week's weather. The weight of the snow is the other.

"The weight is a concern because it could cave in if it gets too heavy," Herget said.

Those threats are the reason roofing crews have been working virtually nonstop this week. Workers used shovels and snow rakes to scrape away ice and snow on area roofs.

"The lower the slope of your roof, the more problems you're going to have," said Hoag. "The steeper the roof, the more water and snow it sheds."

Some elected to do the raking themselves. Lansing resident Bryan VanDorn has been doing it for years. A $20 rake he bought has paid dividends, he said.

"It was a cheap way for us to keep the ice from damming and the water from coming into the house," he said. "It's a worry-free thing. It's just one of those extra tasks I have to do in the snow removal process."

Roofing companies say they help most on two-story houses where standard rakes have a hard time reaching. Extensions only go so far. Hoag says if you do it yourself, it's probably best to get to work before too much ice builds up. Otherwise, he says, for safety's sake, it's best to hire a professional.

As far as prevention goes, better insulation and ventilation can go a long way, even if it doesn't stop the snow from falling.

"With those two things you're going to eliminate the ice melting," Hoag said, "because you're not going to have the heat loss through the roof."

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