Cold Weather Shrinkage: Is Your Roof Prepared For It?

For many people, winter is the perfect season for holidays and other festivities. However, winter can also be one of the most problematic times for roofs. Roofs can shrink and become damaged in very cold weather. Learn about the effects of roof shrinkage and how to deal with it below.

What Are the Negative Effects of Roof Shrinkage? 

Shrinkage is a term used to describe roofing materials and other structures that contract in cold temperatures. Shrinkage generally occurs in the thin covering, or membrane, laying directly under the roof's shingles. Cold temperatures can cause the membrane to get smaller than its actual size.  

Shrinkage can cause a number of things to happen to your roof. As the membrane shrinks, it moves out of place in the roof. The adhesive holding the membrane in place also cracks or lifts up from the roof deck. The movement may also displace the shingles on the roof's surface. If ice or moisture seeps under the shingles, it can eventually soak into the membrane and slowly degrade it.

Roof shrinkage isn't something you should ignore or put off until later. The best way to handle a shrinking roof is to repair it.

Can You Stop or Repair Roof Shrinkage?

Allow a roofing contractor to examine your roof for visible signs of shrinkage. A roof may actually need to ascend your roof to perform the inspection. A roofer may look for:

  • raised shingles
  • displaced nails
  • corroded flashing

A contractor will check other places in and around the roof for shrinkage, including the attic. A shrinking roofing membrane can tear under pressure. If ice and melting snow seeps pass the tears, it can stain the attic ceiling or rot the wood supporting it. 

If the shrinkage in your membrane is severe, you want to replace it right away. It may not be possible to mend or repair the membrane in this case. A roofer may need to replace your shingles and flashing as well. The old shingles and flashing may be too damaged to remain on your roof.

If the membrane has very little shrinkage in it, a roofer may simply place new adhesive to the structure. The new adhesive should be strong enough to keep the membrane in place throughout the year. There may be other things a roofer needs to do to properly secure the membrane in place.

You can learn how shrinkage affects your roof by contacting a roofing contractor today.