If you own a home somewhere that isn’t warm all year, then you know it’s never too early to start being concerned about winter roofing. Winter weather can be unpredictable, so you need to ensure your roof is constructed and designed to withstand the absolute worst possible conditions. It’s extremely important that you don’t wait until it gets cold to worry about winterizing your roof because, by then, it may be too late to properly address any potential problems in time to prevent damage. Instead, you should get out ahead of the curve and consult with a professional roofing company like Interstate Roofing so that you can preemptively catch as many possible issues as you can.
However, while you should absolutely hire trusted professionals to take care of your winter roofing needs, there are some measures you can take yourself that will make your winter roofing experience much easier.
1. Clean Your Gutters
Many people become lax as it pertains to cleaning the gutters, but the debris that accumulates on your roof can lead to overflows that have the potential to ruin your roof and outside walls. Before winter hits, you should make sure your gutters, spouts, and drains are completely clear. If you feel comfortable doing this job yourself, then go for it. However, if you don’t feel capable of completing this task on your own, then you may want to leave it to professionals. Either way, though, this is something that absolutely must be done before winter if you want to avoid issues that could cause you major grief throughout the cold-weather season.
2. Cut All Tree Branches Surrounding the Roof
You may have trees growing near your house, and if you do, it’s absolutely crucial that you trim any branches hovering over or actually touching your roof. If you don’t remove these branches, then when the winter weather gets severe, it could knock the branches onto your roof and cause major roof damage. To avoid this potential damage and the exorbitant costs it would entail, it’s best to remove any branches that pose a risk entirely.
3. Inspect and Seal Flashing
Flashing is installed around the vent pipes, chimney, and in the valley of the roof. The proper function is to close gaps between large parts of the roof that are vulnerable to leaks. You should make sure that the flashing is sealed off correctly by replastering it with plastic cement. Before you reseal it, take a moment to inspect the flashing for any damage.
Flashing needs to be checked regularly. It wears down over time and could lead to leaks inside the house. Even small leaks could eventually cause permanent roof and interior damage. You can check the roof yourself or call in a professional, but either way, this is a preventative maintenance measure that should be done at least once or twice per year, both before and during the winter. If any leaks are found, they must be repaired ASAP.
4. Look for Sagging on the Roof
If you see any sagging on the roof, that’s a bad sign. It can be caused by several different factors. For instance, it may be an indication that the sheathing is on the verge of becoming rotten or saturated. Or it could also mean roof bending is likely in the future due to framing problems.
In any event, if you notice sagging, it’s important you have a proper roof inspection done immediately so that a viable solution can be determined. If it ends up being a framing problem, hire a framing carpenter or architect to fix it. If you don’t fix it and allow for future roof bending, the damage could require exorbitant fees to repair.
5. Look at the Chimney
Many people overlook the chimney, but that’s a mistake. It serves an important function by dispensing smoke and protecting the people who live in the house from suffocating. Make sure you check the chimney before winter begins, and if you see any missing mortar or loose bricks, get in touch with your contractor as soon as you can so they can assess your chimney and recommend the best course of action for you to take.
6. Prevent Ice Dams
An ice dam can take hold when snowmelt pools behind built-up ice on the margins of the roof. This can cause water to back up underneath shingles and leak into the house. You should do everything you can to stop this from happening by ensuring heat is kept out of your attic. This can be done by providing the roof with good insulation and proper ventilation through an air-channel directly below the shingles along the ridge. This will allow the temperature in the underside of the roof to stay the same as the temperature on the surface, which will stop any ice from melting, building up, and causing damage.
7. Pay Attention to the Siding
Siding is easy to forget, but it’s important to take care of because the siding and roof of the house are very closely connected. If you have issues with the siding, it’s likely to lead to roofing problems and vice versa. Take a good look at your siding and see if you notice any wear and tear that seems beyond normal. It’s a good idea to have your siding inspected by a professional before winter starts anyway. And it’s especially necessary if you observe anything out of the ordinary with the siding. This is something you’ll want to handle before the cold or wet weather arrives because getting it taken care of early makes it far easier to keep the siding dry and safe if you experience an especially rough winter season.