Will Sleet Damage Your Roof?

Home 9 Roofing 9 Will Sleet Damage Your Roof?

Sleet and freezing rain are the silent culprits that many people forget about. Most homeowners prepare their homes for snow, but sleet can be just as damaging. Freezing ice pellets can also wreak havoc on your roof. While it may seem harmless, sleet can cause significant damage if not addressed promptly.

What is Sleet? 

Sleet is a form of frozen precipitation that occurs when raindrops freeze before reaching the ground or when melted snowflakes refreeze in mid-air. Unlike snow, which can provide a layer of insulation, sleet comes down as small balls of ice. 

Will Sleet Hurt My Roof?

Freezing rain and sleet can cause problems, especially with an older roof. The vulnerability of your roof is generally based on age, proper installation, and the type of roof you have. 

Sleet is smaller than most hail, making it less likely to cause the kind of roofing damage seen with hail, such as cracked or broken shingles. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get any damage. Sleet pellets can be abrasive, causing granule loss on asphalt shingles. This loss of protective granules exposes the underlying asphalt layer to the elements, leading to premature aging and deterioration.

While snow is the main culprit, sleet can also fill your gutters and downspouts with ice, causing your gutters to break or detach from your home.  That ice then will back up under the shingles and allow water to enter your attic. Known as ice dams, these are more common with snow but can occur with sleet as well. 

Sleet will eventually melt and follow any path that is already weak or has a water leak. The freezing and thawing cycle that’s typical of sleet isn’t helpful, either, expanding in already vulnerable areas. Sleet can also be destructive to the flashing that protects roofs at joints and intersections. 

It’s not just your roof that’s susceptible to damage. The weight of frozen precipitation can pull down tree limbs, power lines, and telephone poles, which can hit your roof. 

How Can You Protect Your Roof From Sleet Damage? 

While there’s no way to prevent a freak accident like a tree landing on your roof, there are some steps you can take to prevent sleet from being a problem in the winter. 

Make sure that your gutters are cleaned in the late fall, or that you have gutter guards installed. If your gutters are already blocked with gunk, it takes far less time for the sleet to overflow your gutters and cause an ice dam and/or gutter damage. 

Remove any tree limbs that overhang your roof as well as any overgrown or dead trees on your property. 

Perform a roof inspection after severe weather events. If you see any missing shingles, gutter damage, or other signs that your roof needs to be repaired, take care of that before the next storm. 

If you live in an area like Pennsylvania where snow, sleet, and freezing rain are common, it’s important to choose a roofing company that installs the correct roofing materials to withstand harsh weather. Remember that it’s not just the shingles that matter on your roof. A quality roof means using a quality roofing system that’s designed to work together to keep the weather out. 

Make sure your attic insulation is up to recommended standards. Insulation helps stop ice dams from forming in the first place and can help prevent the freezing and thawing cycle by keeping the temperature of the roof at the temperature of the outside. As a bonus, proper insulation will reduce your heating bills, making it a smart investment regardless of the weather. 

Sleet Damage to Roofs

While sleet may not seem to be as threatening as several inches of snowfall, its effects can contribute to roof damage over time.  Taking proactive measures, such as regular inspections and maintenance, can go a long way in safeguarding your roof from the potential pitfalls of sleet. 

Have a roof leak? Volpe Enterprises, Inc. has your back. For more than 50 years, Volpe Enterprises has been providing roof repair and replacement services to the Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester County. 

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