10 Essential Roof Preparation Tips for Winter

09/30/2016 10:51 am ET
Klaus Larsen, LLC

With fall and winter's rough weather looming on the horizon, now is the ideal time to assess the condition of your roof and prepare it for the cold seasons. With careful maintenance, you can extend the longevity of your roof and safeguard it against serious damage. The following tips can help you ready your roof for the storms ahead:

#1 Assess the Framework

A professional roof assessment is added insurance for your roof. Have your roof contractor inspect your roof's framework each year. Address any signs of sagging before the winter storms arrive. Your roofer can spot signs of trouble before they lead to a leak.

#2 Check Flashing

The area along the flashing is one of the most common spots for leaks to occur. Your professional roof assessor should spend time inspecting this area of your roof to make sure it's completely sealed. Check your flashing at least once a year to ensure it’s not knocked loose after a storm.

#3 Inspect Roof Valleys

The valleys of your roof are prone to leaks. By keeping valleys cleared of any debris accumulation, you can reduce the weight sitting in these areas and help prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your roof.

#4 Examine Roof Shingles

Like flashing, your roof's shingles can loosen after a patch of rough weather. Missing granules and visible signs of curling indicate that a shingle is suffering and may need to be replaced. Your roofer can easily replace shingles and also inform you about the overall condition of the shingles on your roof.

#5 Clear Debris

Before the storms of fall and winter hit your region, be sure to clear your gutters, spouts and drains. Unless you're comfortable with this task and don't mind working atop a ladder, you can hire a contractor to perform this essential maintenance for you.

#6 Clean Your Gutters

Also make sure your gutters are secured to your home. Loose gutters can spell problems for your roof. Gutters that are not securely tightened can lead to an overflow, which can damage your roof and the exterior walls of your home.

#7 Replace Sealant

If your roof has antennas, plumbing stacks or brick stacks, you should definitely check (or have your contractor check) the sealer around the base of these features. Sealer and caulk will wear over time, so protect your roof by replacing any sealant that has become cracked or worn out.

#8 Deep-check the Chimney

Ask your roofer to inspect your chimney. If chunks of mortar are missing or bricks have become loose, you'll need to have this feature repaired. Your roofer may not be equipped to tackle this type of service, so you'll need to inform your contractor of the problem and hire someone who does brickwork.

#9 Look Around the Attic

Many homeowners fail to check their attic when performing a roof examination. You'll want to ensure that your attic has plenty of evenly distributed insulation to keep the heat in your home. Not only do you not want heat seeping out of your home and causing your energy bills to skyrocket, but this exiting heat can also become trapped under your shingles. This may lead to the development of ice dams, which can spell trouble for your roof. Ice dams are characterized by a sequence of melting and freezing snow that can easily damage areas of your roof where they occur.

#10 Monitor Your Roof

During the cold season, it's a good idea to monitor your roof. If you do suspect a problem, don't get up on an icy roof yourself. Be sure to entrust any winter repairs to a professional. In fact, no matter what season of the year, it's ideal to allow professional contractors to handle the maintenance and repair of this essential home feature.

Conclusion

When you're readying your home for fall and winter, don't forget to prioritize your roof's inspection. Make any repairs needed before the storms arrive. With quality roof preparation, you'll be able to relax in relative peace once the rough weather arrives.

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