Grand County: Roofs are no place to skimp during a winter like this one
Roofs in the high country are bearing the burden of a season that was fraught with freeze-thaw periods and early heavy snows.Those in the roofing business are seeing the damage. One main culprit: Bigger ice dams. “Ice dams have formed a little earlier this year,” said Mike Kimbrough, repair division project manager of the Roofing Company, Granby. “Once they form, they don’t stop forming. They will continue forming throughout the rest of the season.” Because of this winter’s early snows and periods of high daytime temperatures and low nighttime temperatures, a ridge of ice can form at the edge of one’s roof and prevent melting snow from draining off. Heat from inside the home continues to melt snow on the roof, which becomes trapped by the ice dam. The weight of more spring snows can push the weight of the ice, further trapping water behind it. The water is then forced into “taking the path of least resistance,” Kimbrough said. “If (water) can’t flow off the roof, the weight will push it somewhere, normally through the roof into the house,” he said.Leaks can ultimately damage drywall, hardwood floors, even penetrate foundations. Water that ends up in crawl spaces can breed mold.”In my opinion, the two most important parts of the home are the roof and the foundation,” Kimbrough said. “If either one of those fail, it doesn’t matter how well-built the middle of the house is.”The Roofing Company is getting several calls a day concerning leaks, Kimbrough said. More often than not, leaks are due to lack of roof maintenance rather than roof quality in this season of heavy snowfall. “Normally when I get a phone call, it’s too late,” Kimbrough said. “The water has already caused damage.”Nate Patino of M&N Roofing, Granby, says he too is seeing higher incidences of ice dams on roofs. “There’s a lot of people calling,” he said. “If (homeowners) ignore the problems, it could mean replacing the whole roof,” Patino said, “which is more money out of their pocket.””Buildings are designed to carry a certain snow load, and when you have a higher than normal snow load year, you jeopardize the integrity of that building,” said Joe Gould, General Manager of the Roofing Company.The economy may be one factor holding people back from proper roof maintenance on some homes, Kimbrough suspects. “A lot of people are not taking trips out here to even notice these issues,” he said. “Or, they know they have the issue, but are not spending the money on removal, which is too bad because roofs don’t care about the economy, they need maintenance anyway.”Owners of older structures (that may pre-date building-department permitting on strength of roof materials and slope) and mobile home owners should especially be mindful of their roofs, according to Grand County Building Official Scott Penson. “With the amount of snow we have now, plus the anticipated wet and heavy snow coming, people might want to keep their roofs shoveled,” he said. And because of this year’s abundance of snows about to melt away, homeowners should also check crawl spaces and basements to make sure they stay dry.
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