WINTER ROOFING (ROOF WINTERIZATION) – 5 ESSENTIAL TIPS
With the calendar officially showing it is Fall those of us who live in colder climates know Old Man Winter is lurking just around the corner. After the temperature and volatile weather of Spring and Summer, you need to start thinking about properly preparing their roof for the cold and snowy months ahead. We call this winter roofing. A bit of prep and repair is essential to protecting your roof and home from damage caused by freezing temps, snow and ice.
A word of caution first! Climbing up on your roof and fixing it is dangerous you or your roofer no matter the weather. This is especially true when it is raining or snowing, so the best thing you could do is prepare your roof now. You may want to consider hiring a well-reviewed and reputable roofing contractor to inspect the roof for you. Many offer free inspection services and other incentives as their high season winds down.
So, without further fuss here are five essential tips to help prepare your roof for winter.
- Inspect and Clean Your Gutters
Gutters are an important part of your roof and your home and therefore, an essential part of preparing your roof for winter.
Clogged gutters and debris accumulation can lead to a number of problems at any time of the year but especially during the winter months. Winter roofing can lead to issues if not prepared for properly.
The main function of gutters is leading the rainwater and later the melted snow down and away from your roof and your home.
When that function is somehow prevented or stopped, you could be facing some serious problems and damages.
You may experience water pooling on your roof, which can lead to subsequent leaks and water damage to the interior of your home. Apart from that, during wintertime, your roof is also at a high risk of ice dam formation.
Many of these issues can be avoided or minimized by cleaning your gutters regularly. It is recommended to do it at least twice a year and one of those times should be in the fall after the leaves are off the trees, obviously.
You will need to clear out all the leaves, branches, twigs, and other debris from the gutters, and also check the drains and downspouts for any clogs.
Apart from that, make sure that everything is tightly fitted and secured, as loose gutters can also lead to water overflows. And lastly, you can have a gutter guard installed to limit the amount of debris that falls in.
- Trim the Trees Around Your House
Tall trees with branches that hang over your house greatly contribute to the accumulation of debris on your roof and in your gutters. Therefore, even if you clean your gutters you may be faced with continual leaves and branches falling into them during winter.
In order to save yourself from these additional issues and the possibility of gutters getting clogged when the snow hits, it is best to take some time and deal with those trees as well.
Long and heavy tree limbs and dead trees can be a great hazard during storms and rains as well, as they can lean towards your home and even crash into it and destroy certain areas.
Squirrels and wild raccoons are known to live on or climb trees, so these trees and long branches can also function as a great access point to your home’s attic.
Therefore, in order to prevent damages, as well as rodents inside your home, it is best to trim all the trees, as well as tall bushes around your home. Winter roofing achieved!
- Check Your Roof Flashing
Flashing is one of the most important components of your roof that helps prevent leaks. Therefore, any issues with it can lead to serious water damage inside your home.
Flashing is made of impervious material, such as aluminum or galvanized metal. It functions as an additional protective mechanism that directs the water off of the roof and prevents its passage into your home’s structure.
Flashing is located along the intersections of the roof, on all the joints, at the edges of skylights, on the areas where chimney interconnects with the roof and other similar areas.
Freezing temperatures and rain, as well as strong storms and winds, can sometimes cause the flashing to tear, loosen, uplift, and to corrode.
In order to prevent greater damages and the troubles of a leak during the winter – which can amount to some serious costs – it is always highly recommended to inspect all the flashing to ensure that everything is in working order.
Call in a professional roofer and they will make sure all the parts are properly and tightly sealed and if there are any missing or loose pieces, they will replace them on time. This is winter roofing at its best.
- Examine Your Roof Shingles
Similarly to the flashing, shingles can also experience wear and tear over time, especially if the roof is an older one. Spring and Summer hail storms could have damaged your roof since the last inspection so be sure to do this regularly.
Loose and missing shingles can also lead to a number of problems that can be difficult to deal with during the winter, once the damage is already done.
You will notice that your shingles are faulty or lose if they start to lose their granules, i.e., when you find granules in your gutters.
You will also notice visible signs of curling or see some leaves, twigs, or other debris lodged underneath the shingles. These are all signs of damaged shingles that need to be replaced.
Neglecting a fairly simple roof repair such as replacing a few shingles can lead to roof leaks, damages or even a complete roof replacement in the future.
Therefore, make sure to call your roofer for some proper “winter roofing” so that your roof is ready to welcome the winter in top shape.
- Inspect Your Attic and Install Ventilation
The attic is an integral part of your roof inspection and winter preparation. It can greatly contribute to the formation of ice dams on your roof and subsequently cause water damage and energy waste.
When the attic is not properly insulated, or if there is no proper ventilation, the heat from your home will seep out and the cold air will come in.
This will increase your heating needs, wasting energy and increasing your utility bill. The heat that seeps out from the attic can also cause the shingles to curl as well as lead to the formation of ice dams on your roof as the snow melts from the heat.
Therefore, check if your attic has a good, evenly distributed insulation or at least a ventilation system that allows the air to circulate.
This will help keep the heat inside, prevent it from reaching the roof, as well as reduce the amount of energy your home uses for heating.
If you don’t have an attic ventilation system or you’re not sure whether it’s functioning properly, don’t hesitate to call your roofer to assess the situation.
Preparing and inspecting your roof for winter is an essential part of your home maintenance and you should always make it your priority.
The roof is there to keep your home safe and protected from the elements, so keeping it in top shape will save you a lot of trouble and aggravation in the future.
If you are not sure that you can conduct the needed assessments yourself or if you don’t have the time, you can always enlist the help of a professional roofer in your area.