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how to prepare roof for winter

How to Prepare Your Roof for Winter: 5 Essential Tips for Homeowners

Winter is just around the corner and properly preparing your roof for these cold and snowy months is essential if you want to protect both the roof and your home from potential dangers and damages. 

Taking some necessary precautions on time 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 when it is raining or snowing can be extremely difficult for either you or your roofer, so the best thing you could do is prepare your roof now. 

Here are five essential tips on how to do it.       

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. 

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 on time and regularly. 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. 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.    

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.    

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 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 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.

Therefore, make sure to call your roofer on time 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, 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 you’re not sure whether it’s functioning properly, don’t hesitate to call your roofer to assess the situation.

Conclusion 

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.   

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Fortified Roofing is a GAF Master Elite roofing contractor in New Jersey.

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