With the winter weather quickly approaching, you probably take some steps to prepare your home for the oncoming snow and icy winds. But have you thought to take the same measures with your roof?
Like the rest of your house, your roof requires a little extra TLC at the beginning of each season. Especially before winter strikes, you should take several steps to ensure your roof can withstand the weight of snow piles and the force of winter winds.
Below, we’ve provided you with some tips you can use to prepare your roof for the winter season. Read on to discover how you can fortify and protect this exterior feature.
1. Clear Away Debris
Throughout the year, your roof will accumulate different kinds and amounts of debris. For example, during the spring, you may notice scattered piles of seeds, twigs, or grass along your roof. In the fall, you may see small branches and piles of leaves across the entire structure.
If you leave this debris on your roof, it will collect moisture from fall rains and winter snows. The more moisture the debris retains, the greater the risk for mold, algae growth, and rot.
Use a sturdy ladder to climb onto your roof. Use a broom or air blower to remove the leaves and twigs from your roof. Spend a little extra time cleaning out the valleys of your roof, since leaves are more likely to stick in these corner crevices.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this cleanup yourself, call a roofing professional to perform the service instead. He or she may even be able to remove any moss or algae that has grown on your roof.
2. Clean Out the Gutters
Just like you’ll notice debris along your roof, you’ll also find buildup in your gutters. If too many leaves, branches, and seeds collect in your gutters, the drainage system won’t work properly. As a result, water will overflow from the top of the gutters and damage your roof and walls.
Use garden gloves as you clean out your gutters. The gloves will protect your hands from sharp branches, bugs, or animals that are in the troughs. Scoop out the debris and place it in a compost bin or garbage bags. Watch out for seeds that have sprouted into saplings, and make sure the roots haven’t grown through your gutters.
If you notice dirt in the gutters after you’ve removed the leaves, use a hose or pressure washer to clear it away. Take extra care to clean out the downspouts as well. If these fixtures get clogged, they can’t divert water away from your home.
To prevent additional leaves and debris from accumulating in your gutters, install gutter guards or screens over the troughs.
3. Inspect the Shingles and the Roof Edging
After your roof is completely clean, walk along the structure and inspect the shingles. Make note of any missing shingles or worn-down patches and replace the material as quickly as possible. If you have cedar
shakes or clay tiles on your roof, inspect these components for damage like cracks, missing chunks, and missing sections.
Additionally, inspect the top and bottom of the roof’s edging for fraying; missing, broken, or damaged fasteners; weather damage; or weak spots. Also inspect the flashing and the chimney to ensure these areas are tightly sealed and structurally sound.
4. Check for Other Roof Damage
During your inspection, keep an eye out for additional kinds of roof damage. Some things you should look for include granules in the gutters, holes or sagging spots in the roof, pooling water, field membrane shrinkage, and blistering.
As soon as you notice any damage to your roof, contact a roofing materials supplier who can deliver new materials to your home. These new materials can repair the damage and strengthen your roof, ensuring it will last and protect your family through the coming winters.
5. Look at the Insulation
In the winter, one of the biggest threats to your roof—and your home—is ice damming. Ice damming occurs when your home’s insulation is poor quality and air escapes through the insulation and the roof. The warm air melts the snow on top of your roof, and that water flows down your roof to the edge and onto the gutters. The cold temperatures cause that water to refreeze and solidify over the drainage system.
The extra weight of the ice can pull your gutters off of your roof and cause significant damage to your home. To prevent ice dams, check the insulation in your attic or under your roof. If it looks frayed or crumbly, or if you can see bald patches, install new insulation. The new material will keep your home warmer and prevent ice dams from occurring.
Trust Roofing Professionals if There’s Too Much Roof Damage
If there’s too much damage on your roof, you may need to completely replace the structure. Turn to the experts at American Building & Roofing, Inc. We can access the situation and refer you to a roofing contractor who can repair or replace the roof over your home.