Winter Inspections when roof shingles are not visible
by Roger Hollenbeck on 11/14/14
From middle of November until late March in Summit County Colorado often the roofs are covered with snow and the shingles are not visible. So how do we inspect the roof? Often I can't but I can look for signs there may be roof issues by what I see around and under the roof.
Around the roof. If I see thick ice dams with huge icicles I can usually suspect the shingles above the ice dams, often in the roof valleys, may be damaged from ice removal efforts. Ice dams are usually a sign of poor roof ventilation as well. Late February and March I start seeing water in the form of ice leaking through the roof behind the fascia and through roof soffits and vents. This means the roof is leaking. Fortunately and hopefully the water is still outside the walls of the house. There is still time to have the snow removed before water damage inside the house occurs.
Under the roof. If I can get into the attic and look at the underside of the roof sheathing I can see if water is leaking through the roof at roof valleys. I also look at the plumbing vent stacks at the roof sheathing. If I can see a lot of daylight around the plumbing vent this tells me the stack boot gasket on the roof is cracked and damaged and should be replaced. If I can see the boiler, furnace or fireplace chimney at the roof sheathing I look for water infiltration from those penetrations as well. I also look at the ridge vent from the attic side and if I see any daylight there I know the shingles on the ridge vent are missing. It's all about being thorough and getting up into the attic even though it can be a tight squeeze at times!!!