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3 Ways Toronto’s Extreme Cold Can Clobber Your Roof

winter roofing

A leaky roof is a homeowner’s nightmare. Water that gets in through the roof can rot wood, rust metal and weaken support structures.

Even so, most people don’t worry too much about roof leaks in the winter because snow and ice don’t flow like water.

But winters, especially those with extreme cold temperatures like the one we’re suffering through this year in Toronto, can seriously damage your roof and cause it to leak. Here’s how:

1. Freeze/Thaw Cycles

Water expands as it freezes, and contracts when it thaws. Ice and snow on your roof can melt on warmer days, when they are in direct sunlight or if you have poor roof and attic insulation. As the snow melts, some of it will get under your roof’s shingles. If that water doesn’t drain away entirely, which is unlikely in winter, it will freeze – and expand again – when temperatures drop.

The repeated expansion and contraction of freeze/thaw cycles has a “wear and tear” effect on roofing shingles. Eventually, they will lift or crack, which lets in more water, which can find its way into your home.

2. Long-term Freezing

If any ice that forms under a shingle doesn’t melt fairly quickly, it can keep the shingle in a raised or curled position for an extended period. The longer it stays that way, the less chance there is that the shingle will return to its proper shape and/or position – and the more likely it is that you’ll suffer a leak.

3. One Big Thaw

Toronto’s extended freeze means that all of the snow that falls this winter will accumulate and thaw all at once when spring finally arrives. It’s like an entire season’s worth of rain falling all at once, or at least in a relatively short time. Needless to say, more water rolling off your roof means more chance of a leak.

Unfortunately, unless you actually spot a leak or identifiable problem, there’s not much you can do at this point to protect your roof and home. However, if you’re lucky enough to survive the winter without a roof leak, make sure you have it inspected in the spring by a reputable roofing contractor.

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