While your roof might not be the first thing you think of when you start planning for the winter months, neglecting it can lead to leaks, damage, and costly repairs. Prepare your roof for the cold weather ahead to ensure you’ll stay warm and dry until spring comes around again.
Check Shingles, Flashing, and Sealant
To keep your family safe and warm this winter, make sure your roof isn’t already damaged. Check your roof for missing shingles that need to be replaced. Shingles that are curling or showing visible signs of wear with the granules missing also need replacements to minimize the risk of leaks.
Flashing helps direct water away from places that are prone to leaks by acting as a sealant. Roof flashing is usually made up of thin pieces of galvanized steel. You’ll see flashing around your chimney and skylights and anywhere where your roof runs into a vertical surface, like a dormer or wall.
Antennas and stacks should have waterproof caulk around them to keep water from seeping down through the cracks. Sealants don’t last forever, so check for any areas where the caulk has cracked or worn thin and reapply it before the harsh winter weather sets in.
Clean Your Roof and Gutters
Your roof may accumulate leaves, twigs, and other debris during fall storms. These small items don’t usually damage your roof, but they can create big problems if you leave them when the snow falls. Organic matter rotting under heavy snow can damage shingles or clog your gutters if it slides down.
Cleaning out your gutters is just as important as your roof. You need to provide water from melting ice a clear path into your downspouts. Standing water can collect and refreeze, forming dangerous icicles that can loosen your gutters.
Clogged gutters or downspouts can also lead to ice dams. If water gets trapped and freezes in your gutters, the constant moisture around your walls can leak and seriously damage your home’s structure and exterior walls.
Prune Your Trees
Check any trees near your home for damaged or diseased branches that are likely to break under the pressure of winter winds, ice, and snow. A single large branch falling on your roof can lead to hefty repairs or even a complete roof collapse. Make sure no branches or hanging foliage is scraping against the surface of your roof as well.
Inspect Your Attic
Many homeowners overlook the attic during preparation, which is a mistake. Replace insulation as needed to make sure your attic is insulated evenly. The better insulated your attic is, the lower your heating costs will be.
An improperly insulated attic can also lead to roof damage or ice dams if the heat escaping through the attic gets trapped under your roof’s shingles, causing snow and ice to melt and refreeze before it can drain properly.
Plan How to Deal With Snow
When heavy snowstorms hit, you need a plan to keep your roof safe. You can leave some snow on your roof; it actually provides a little extra insulation. But if the snow is very wet and heavy or builds up so deep that you’re worried about a roof collapse, you’ll need to clear some of it.
Only a roofing professional should get on an icy or snowy roof. Use a roof rake from the ground if you need to clear some snow yourself. It’s best to discuss snow removal with a professional roofer before winter storms blow in so you know who to call if you need some help clearing your roof.
Jerry Newman Roofing & Remodeling Inc provides roof repair and installation in Northern Illinois. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to make sure your roof is winter-ready.