5 Strategies For Safe Roofs In Cold Climates

If you're in the process of having a home built or redoing the roof on an existing structure in an area that features cold winters, there are several available strategies designed to make your roof as cold-climate friendly as possible. These will not only help keep heating costs down, they'll make your roof last for a longer period of time and limit the necessity for repairs. Following are five ways that you can create the best possible cold-weather roof that will be trouble-free for years.

Limit The Number Of Openings On Your Roof

Naturally, you'll have a chimney if your home has a wood stove or fireplace, but other than that, try to limit the amount of holes in your roof in order to conserve heat. Roof openings for skylights, for instance, can create spaces where snow and ice can accumulate as well as provide a prime area for leaks to develop. Ice dams can leak into walls and create issues such as mold and rot, as well as create the type of moist environment that attracts termites.

Place Chimneys On The Highest Point Of The Roof

Placing your chimney on the highest possible point on the roof will keep it out of the way of melting snow or ice, decreasing the chances that moisture will build up in the area and cause leaks. This will also ensure that you have the tallest possible chimney -- shorter chimney heights generally means that you'll experience draft problems. Your chimney should also run up through the interior of the home rather than on an outside wall where it may be exposed to cold exterior air.

Keep The Overall Design Simple

Complex designs can result in snow, ice, and debris buildup in nooks and crannies. This can cause damage such as leaks, the development of mold and mildew colonies, and general deterioration. Flat roofs are also not advised, particularly in areas that receive significant amounts of winter snow. Accumulated snow can become so heavy that it can weaken the structural integrity of the roof over time.

A basic gable roof that is strong and sturdy will easily shed snow, ice, fallen leaves and needles, and other debris. Also, trying to keep a complex roof clear of snow and ice can be a dangerous task for the average homeowner -- the risk of slipping and falling is high for those not trained in proper snow and ice removal procedures.

Make It Metal For Low Maintenance

A metal roof will help ensure that snow, ice, and other moisture slides off easily, and it's also durable and long lasting. Metal roofs are very unlikely to spring leaks. Also, because metal is nonporous, moss, lichen, and various fungal spores such as mold and mildew have difficulty establishing a foothold. Algae growth is rarely, if ever, a problem on metal roofs. Metal is also very easy to keep clean using a mixture of mild household detergent and warm water. It can be painted a dark color in order to absorb heat from the sun during the cold winter months, resulting in reduced heating costs.

Provide A Place For Fallen Snow

Sloped metal roofs that shed snow quickly often cause huge piles of snow to accumulate next to the house. Be sure to provide for this by by having extended eaves that will deposit the snow at least two feet from the exterior walls of your home. Otherwise, you run the risk of plumbing vents becoming blocked by snow, which can result in unsanitary conditions and even in explosions caused by pent-up methane gas. Dryer and heating vents that become covered by snow create a serious risk of fire. You should also provide walkways around your home that are not directly below the eaves in order to circumvent human injury from falling snow.

For more information, contact a company like A1 Everlast Construction.