How to Prepare Your Roof for Winter: 6 Essential Tips for Homeowners
Winter is just around the corner and properly preparing your roof for winter is essential to protect your home from potential danger and damage. Taking some necessary precautions, and performing regular roof maintenance will let you enjoy the snow and the holiday season without disruptions, worries, and roof repair hassles.
Climbing on top of the roof and fixing it in the harsh winter weather conditions can be extremely difficult for either you or your roofer, so the best thing you could do is think ahead and prepare your winter roof now.
Roof Maintenance Tips to Help You Prepare for Winter
Your winter roof should be able to withstand the following weather conditions:
Extended periods of heavy rain can result in leaks or water lying under loose or damaged shingles. These conditions are ideal for the growth of mold and algae, which can weaken the structure of your roof. Over time, your roof may even rot, causing permanent damage that may require a complete roof replacement.
During winter, a strong wind can blow off loose or damaged shingles, exposing the structural elements underneath. It can also break the heavy and old tree branches that can damage the roof.
Constant temperature changes during seasonal transitions can cause your roof to expand and contract. The biggest issue in winter is frozen water.
Packed snow weight can put enormous pressure on your roof. It can cause cracks, breaks, and structural damage over time.
Ice impacts your roof when water seeps into little cracks on your roof and freezes. When the water freezes, those cracks expand, causing damage to your roof. With warmer days, the water starts melting, and in those areas, leaks can appear.
An ice dam forms when snow and ice freeze at the edge of your roof. When the snow above the dam starts to melt, the water can’t drain properly into the gutters. So, the water stays in areas that aren’t meant to handle it, causing damage to your home.
Here are the main winter roof maintenance tips every homeowner should know.
- 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 any time of the year but especially during the winter months. 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 caused by ice or snow. 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 during regular roof maintenance. It is recommended to do it at least twice a year and one of those times should be in the fall, just before the winter and snow. It is also recommended to have a professional do it, but with proper safety precautions and experience, some homeowners may choose to do it themselves.
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. Llastly, you can have a gutter guard installed to limit the amount of debris that falls in.
If you need professional help, Fortified Roofing offers various services in your area and can help you with regular roof maintenance. Roofing professionals can spot not-so-obvious damage on time and repair it, so you can peacefully welcome another winter.
- 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’s wind. In order to save yourself from these additional issues and the possibility of gutters getting clogged when the snow and ice hit, it is best to take some time and deal with those trees before they cause some serious damage to your roof.
Long and heavy tree limbs and dead trees can be a great hazard during storms and rain as well, as they can lean towards your home and even crash into it and destroy certain areas, leaving you with broken or damaged shingles you have to repair as soon as possible.
Squirrels and raccoons living on those trees can use them to get into your home’s attic.
Therefore, to repair damaged areas on your roof and prevent rodent infestation, it is best to include trimming the trees around your house as an essential part of regular roof maintenance.
- 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 chimneys interconnect with the roof and other similar areas. Freezing temperatures, ice, snow and rain, as well as strong storms and winds, can sometimes cause the flashing to tear, loosen, uplift, and to corrode under the ice dam that’s preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. 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 our professional roofers and we’ll make sure all the parts are properly and tightly sealed and if there is any damage we’ll repair it on time so your home can stay safe and warm.
- 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. Loose and missing shingles can 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 loose 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. That’s why it’s crucial to have regular roof maintenance and inspections so you can spot minor problems before they turn into big and costly ones.
If you need professional help and you’re wondering who to turn to in your area, our team at Fortified Roofing will gladly offer you our services. We’ll get your roof in top shape so it can withstand any winter challenges like heavy rain, snow, ice, or wind.
- 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 if not properly maintained.
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, as well as your energy waste and utility bills. 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 are unsure whether it’s functioning properly, don’t hesitate to contact us at Fortified Roofing. Visit our homepage and check our service areas.
- Regularly Inspect and Maintain Your Roof
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, aggravation, and money 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.
Reach Out to Fortified Roofing and Get Your Roof Ready for Winter
Fortified Roofing is a roofing company founded in 2001, with specialization in asphalt and metal roof replacements for customers residing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Schedule a consultation today to secure your home with a functional and stylish roof that can withstand any weather challenges for a peaceful winter.