Could Punxsutawney Phil Be Right?


On Ground Hog Day 2018, Phil, from Punxsutawney, Pa., emerged from his home on Gobbler’s Knob and saw his shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter-like weather. While it’s not what most of us were hoping to hear (except for all you ski bums), time flies when you’re having fun!

Spring will be here before you know it. Don’t forget to add a roofing checkup to your spring to-do list. Any roofing problems lingering as a result of winter are best addressed as soon as the weather heats up. Because of the warmer spring weather, it is also an ideal time for repairs, if any are needed.

While the winter of 2018 has not been a record-breaker by any means, we have had enough rain, ice and wind to cause a fair share of concern about roofs and gutters. It’s normal to have heavier amounts of rain in spring, and previous winter damage can lead to leaks and other problems when spring storms hit.

Detecting problems and getting them resolved quickly is important. Your home’s roof provides the primary defense against the elements. For that reason, it makes sense to keep it in good condition and performing as it should.

Even if damage isn’t immediately affecting your home and the inside of your living space, there can be hidden damages that can sneak up later. So, what should you do to assess possible winter damage to roof and gutters?

For starters, check the attic and ceilings for leaks and water stains. Inspect attic insulation for high moisture content. High moisture can signal leaks, and it damages the effectiveness of the insulation. Eyeball the drywall for anything that looks like a blister or bubble that could be holding water. To test, stick a pin in the bubble. Be sure to check ceiling fixtures, which can be sources of leaks.

Flashing is one of the areas on the roof that is most vulnerable to damage. Flashing is metal that connects the main part of the roof to anything that breaks the plane like skylights, vents, chimneys and hatch tops. Damaged or weak flashing is an easy place for water to creep in. If you have a metal roof, wall caps or flashing, and notice rust, that is definitely a warning sign to have the metal thoroughly checked. Extensive rusting can cause the metal to degrade and allow water to enter your home.

For slate and shingle roofs, loose nails and broken shingles or slate tiles may be signs that the roof has been compromised and is susceptible to leaking.

If you had ice dams, they may have weighed down gutters or downspouts and pulled them off the fascia so they drain the water poorly. Leaves and other debris in the gutter or spout can cause big problems when heavy spring rains arrive. It may not seem like a big deal, but this could be your biggest problem source.

High winds can cause branches to fall and puncture the roof. Or the winds may have caused wall caps to blow off or become dislodged. Punctures need to be repaired and wall caps need to be secured. Don’t forget to have skylights and chimneys checked, as glass can crack and chimneys may need repointing.

These checkup items, once completed and taken care, of should give you peace of mind and time for your other spring checkup chores.

Of course, as a roofing contractor who makes his living doing roof work, you will expect the following note of caution from me. Only roofing professionals should climb onto a roof. It’s what we do every day. We know how to do a roofing analysis and what to look for.

We offer a free roof checkup and written analysis. Avoid the risk and give us a call!


Tom Daniel is owner and general manager of R. Thomas Daniel Roofing LLC and is the third generation of the family to provide roofing services to Capitol Hill homeowners. Tom was born on Capitol Hill and supports numerous community organizations. For help with your roofing needs he can be reached at 202-569-1080, 202-544-4430 or