Top 7 Ways to Prepare Your Roof for Winter
With the temperatures dropping and winter imminent, many smart home and business owners have started to prepare their roofs for winter. There are a multitude of prevention methods to ensure that your roof stays healthy and leak free during the harsh winter. Some winter prevention tips are common sense and very easy to perform. Others however, are not quite as obvious. These are better handled by an experienced team, like the professionals here at The Roof Repair Guys. In this guide we will discuss the seven most important tips to prepare your roof for winter. We will discuss some winter preparations that you may be able to do on your own and other preparations that we highly recommend hiring a professional.
Easy Ways To Prepare Your Roof For Winter
Clear Your Roof
- As mentioned, some prevention measures are common sense. The easiest initial step to take is to remove all debris and leaves from the valleys and surfaces of your roof. Clearing your roof of debris in the fall will ensure your roof will not collect snow or form a “dam” of debris, inhibiting proper drainage of water and creating leaks.
Inspect Your Roof
- A proper roof inspection after removing the debris is vital. While examining the roof you should make sure to check your gutters and downspouts for damage or leaks. Additionally, you should closely inspect areas that commonly form leaks such as the valleys of your roof, and around the “flashing” of your roof.
Don't Forget The Attic
- Inspect the Attic! Often times clients will examine the roof thoroughly and completely ignore an attic inspection. A common problem seen over the winter is the formation of “ice dams” due to improper attic ventilation. These dams form when snow and ice is melted by an improperly ventilated attic which then refreezes at the edge of the roof. This causes a heavy buildup of ice and snow that is susceptible to leaks. When you inspect the attic you should make sure that the insulation is evenly applied and all ventilation ports, such as fans or windows are unclogged and working properly. While examining your attic make sure you take note of and damp spots or discoloration on the walls. By identifying small leaks early, you may be able to address the problem before it becomes expensive to fix. A close attic inspection not only prevents “ice dam” formations, it will also save you a lot of money in heating costs for your home! We discuss ice dam prevention in greater detail in our ICE DAM article.
More Difficult Ways To Prepare Your Roof For Winter
Trim Trees Around Your Roof
- After inspecting your roof you should make sure all trees, shrubs and bushes are not in contact with your roof. You should trim them far enough that they wont touch your roof, even in the most severe storms. If not trimmed these plants will deposit debris or physically damage the structure of your roof in a heavy storm. Discovering a collapsed portion of your roof after a heavy storm is never a nice surprise.
Remove Heavy Snowfall With a Snow Rake
- After heavy storms, check to make sure there is no more than six inches of snow and ice on the roof. The Roof Repair Guys recommend using a “snow rake” to brush off unwanted snow and ice before it is able to reach a hazardous accumulation. It is important that a rake designed for snow removal is used, a regular rake may damage your roof or siding creating more leaks than before!
Reseal and Re-Caulk Leak Prone Areas to Prepare Your Roof For Winter
- If you are feeling brave and are handy with tools, The Roof Repair Guys recommend resealing gutters, downspouts and flashing. This “touch up” maintenance will save you money in repairing leaks down the road. Additionally you should nail any loose or broken shingles discovered on your initial roof inspection.
Have The Roof Repair Guys Install Cleats or Heating Cables
- A final option that many homeowners request is the installation snow management structures. Snow cleats can be easily installed on your roof and will prevent the snow from accumulating and ensure it drains properly. Some customers choose to install heating cables which continuously melt snow and reduce any chances of a “Roof Avalanche”. See our ice cleat article for more detailed info!