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How to Prepare Your Roof for Winter
A sturdy roof can help keep your home warm in the winter and protect your indoor living space from snow and ice. Since extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions can wear your roof down, you might want to inspect and clean it before the temperature drops to ensure it can withstand the cold winter months. Follow these winter roofing tips to get started.
1. Check for Damage
Flat roofs are more likely to have moisture damage than sloped ones because they don't always have an adequate way to drain the water off their surfaces. Even though your roof has a slight slope to allow water to drain, it may have difficulty keeping up with heavy rains, so water could pool on top of your building. As a result of flat roof condensation and puddles, you could have the following commercial roof moisture problems:
One of the best ways to prepare your residential roof for winter is to schedule a professional inspection. Even though you might be able to climb on a ladder and find some noticeable damage to your shingles, a professional knows which components are most vulnerable to wear and tear. Get your roof inspected after the leaves have fallen off nearby trees to ensure the debris didn't damage your shingles. You may also want to check your roof for damage from heavy snowfall or loose branches after a storm.
A roofing specialist assesses any damage to the roof's shingles and framework during a roof inspection, making the necessary repairs. They'll tend to look for the following components:
- Missing or damaged roof shingles
- Moss, algae or mildew buildup
- Large piles of leaves and other debris
- Loose spots or gaps on the flashing around your chimney or skylights
- Misaligned, sagging or leaky gutters
- Improperly installed valleys
- Missing granules or a worn-out asphalt coating on your roof shingles
2. Clean Your Gutters
Your gutters' purpose is to channel rainwater and melted snow away from your property instead of having it collect on your roof. If debris builds up in your gutters, they could start to hold water and potentially damage your roof. Therefore, it's essential to clean your gutters after the autumn, when leaves are more likely to end up on your property.
Here's how to clean leaves off roof gutters.
- Remove the debris: Clear the pine needles and leaves from nearby trees out of your gutters with a trowel. You may want to wear gloves to protect your hands from grime. Debris within these components can trap standing water and encourage mold and mildew growth.
- Check your gutters for damage: If you haven't cleaned your gutters in a while, you might want to check for damage. Excess debris can cause them to sag and eventually fall off your property. A professional roofing company could inspect and replace your gutters if they suffered from severe damage.
- Check for animal infestations: While cleaning your gutters, check for signs that small animals might have made a cozy nest on your property. The debris in your gutters can attract insects and pests for food and nest materials. If you see any pest activity, you might want to call a pest control company to deal with it instead of trying to take it on yourself. During a roofing inspection, the roofing specialist can also check for an infestation, so you don't have to climb a ladder and risk a possible slip-and-fall accident.
- Trim the trees around your property: Part of cleaning out your gutters also involves trimming the trees around your house to reduce debris. Since tree branches could fall off during inclement weather, cut loose ones to prevent them from damaging your property.
3. Examine the Chimney
Your chimney is usually next to or in the middle of your roof, so it should be working correctly to keep your shingles intact. This component controls the harmful gases coming out of your furnace to prevent them from ending up in your indoor living space. Instead, these gases flow through the chimney outside.
Here are some of the ways you can check your chimney as part of your roofing inspection.
- Inspect the ventilation: Check your heating appliances to ensure toxic gases exit the house to prevent fires. Replacing the chimney liner or cleaning debris out of it can guard against combustible materials entering your walls and attic.
- Check the carbon monoxide detector: Your heating appliances produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct. If the venting system doesn't allow this odorless, colorless gas to exit your home, you could put your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Consider checking your carbon monoxide detector to ensure this harmful gas isn't in your living space.
- Install a chimney cap: The wire mesh of a chimney cap prevents combustible materials, moisture and pest damage from building up on your roof. You might want to set up this component in your chimney to prevent animals from making nests within your property.
- Look at the chimney's flashing: The flashing around your chimney prevents moisture from leaking within the gaps. Since the chimney's metal flashing isn't as durable as other roof components, you might want to check it for cracks and tears. If there's any damage to this protective material, water can leak into your home during a rain or snowstorm.
4. Inspect Your Attic
Before the temperature drops, you may want to ensure the heat from your furnace doesn't escape your house. Since warm air rises, you can prevent air leaks by inspecting your attic's integrity. The attic might have water spots, leaks or stains that could signal a past leak from your roof. If you notice any signs of water damage, call a roofing specialist to get it repaired.
Your attic needs adequate insulation and ventilation to regulate your home's indoor temperature. Consider the benefits of upgrading your insulation and adding ventilation.
- Prevent mold and mildew growth: The sunlight on your roof can make your attic warmer than the rest of your house. If the hot air can't escape through vents, it can form condensation that encourages mold and mildew growth. Consider inspecting or installing ventilation to allow adequate airflow.
- Make your home more comfortable: Since insulation can control heat transfer, your indoor living space will most likely be warmer in the winter, providing a cozy atmosphere for you and your family.
- Prevent ice dams: Proper insulation reduces your risk of ice dams forming on your roof. These pieces can damage the shingles and put extra wear on the gutters.
- Lower your monthly energy bills: When you have adequate insulation keeping warm air in your home, your HVAC system doesn't have to work so hard to produce heat. As a result, you can save money on your energy bills.
Is Your Roof Ready for Winter? Request a Free Quote
After inspecting your roof and its various components, you might discover you need new shingles or a brand-new roof. At Tiger Roofing, we specialize in residential and commercial roofing to help prepare your property for harsh weather conditions. If you're in one of our service areas, we'll inspect your house and give you a free quote for a repair or replacement. For more information about our products and services, can contact us online or call 410-228-3222.