When the cold wind starts to blow and there's snow in the forecast, it's time to check your roof. Knowing how to maintain your roof in winter is key to preventing a roof collapse due to snow and water damage inside. We've got some winter roof maintenance tips to help keep you warm and dry during the season.
1. Remove snow and ice
Can snow collapse your roof? Roofs are structurally engineered to carry snow and ice. The amount they can carry safely depends on the region where you live and the design of your house. However, snow and ice can be heavy, so they need to be removed as soon as safely possible. Otherwise, you could risk major damage to your roof and home's structure.
Melting and refreezing can cause an ice dam that forces water between your shingles and the plywood deck. This could lead to potential leaks and water damage in the interior of your home.
It's best to remove any snow or ice as soon as it's safe to do so or call a professional with the experience to do it safely.
2. Inspect flashings
Flashings are the metal panels that surround roof penetrations and help prevent water from getting under the shingles. You'll want to inspect them to see if they've become loose or damaged. If they are warped or no longer flush with the shingles, you need to replace them with new ones. Standard flashings are available from any large hardware store.
3. Inspect gutters
Inspect your gutters for ice dams, damage, or clogs. It's a good thing to clean your gutters regularly, especially after the leaves have fallen. This helps prevent ice dams and keeps your gutters running smoothly. If you see icicles hanging off your gutters, you may have a buildup or an ice dam. Ice dams can create structural damage due to the weight of the ice and water.
When cleaning out your gutters before winter, keep an eye out for signs of animal infestations. Squirrels, raccoons, birds, bees, wasps, and hornets may all make their homes on your roof. You may want to call in a pest control specialist.
If you're tired of cleaning gutters every year, consider installing gutter guards. They don't affect roof performance but prevent leaves from getting into the gutters and clogging them up.
4. Inspect shingles
Regularly inspect your shingles, looking for loose or missing ones. Shingles can be loosened or removed by windstorms, which can create a lot of lift. If you have loose or missing shingles it can leave your roof vulnerable to leaks, as shingles provide protection against water intrusion. Remove any damaged or loose shingles and replace them as soon as possible.
5. Check attic ventilation and insulation
The performance of your attic directly affects the performance of your roof. Your roof depends on your attic is adequately ventilated and insulated to protect it from temperature extremes. When inspecting your attic look for signs of water damage, holes that expose the attic to outside elements, and poor insulation. If you find that your attic isn't adequately ventilated or there are other problems, contact a professional roofer.
6. Trim tree branches
Tree branches can fall on your roof under the heavyweight of snow and ice, or even due to wind. These branches can cause damage to shingles, allowing water into your home's structure. Trim all tree branches away from the roof to prevent storm damage.
7. Have a professional inspect your roof
It pays to have a professional roofer inspect your roof and attic to ensure there's nothing you've missed. They have a trained eye and have seen what damage looks like, so may find something that you've missed. Whether you have damage or not, a professional roofer can let you know how to maintain your roof throughout the year and give you tips specific to your house. You can also schedule a professional to take care of all your maintenance needs.
We hope these winter roofing tips have helped answer the question is your roof is ready for winter. With regular maintenance and a professional inspection each year, your roof is sure to last many years. If you have any questions or want to schedule an inspection, contact Findlay Roofing today.