Roof Maintenance to Prepare Your Roof for Winter
Summer is quickly coming to a close and before you know it winter will be here. If you are like many other homeowners, you prepare a winter checklist that typically includes furnace maintenance and plumbing maintenance, but one of the most overlooked winter preparations is the roof maintenance. Regardless of the type of roofing materials that are on your home, harsh winter weather conditions can wreak havoc on the roof of your home, so it is important to make sure it is ready for heavy rains, snow and ice. With proper roof maintenance, you can prevent the risk of leaks and other expensive damages, such as the collapse of the roof under heavy, wet snow.
Check the Attic
One of the first steps of good roof maintenance is inspecting both the exterior and interior of your home. It is common for the attic to be the first place where problems with the roof are first noticed. Carefully inspect the attic, looking for signs of roof damages, such as streaks of water, mold and mildew and wet insulation. Check all of the attic windows to ensure they are properly sealed. Ice, heavy rains and snow can cause significant damage to your homes roofing system, rafters and trusses. One of the most effective ways to prevent a buildup of snow and ice on the roof is by installing an attic ventilation system, which will allow the air in your attic to circulate and reduce or eliminate ice and snow buildup on the roof.
Clean Clogged Gutters
One of the most important types of winter roof maintenance you can do to protect the roof and the structure of your home is to clean the gutters. When debris such as leaves, dirt, tree branches and shingle granules collect in the gutters it prevents the water from flowing into the downspouts. As the water backs up it seeps under the shingles weakening the shingles. It can also seep behind the gutters causing damage to the fascia boards. Even worse, when snow and ice melt, without anywhere to go it will refreeze and cause ice dams, which can cause extensive damage to the roof. The easiest way to ensure the roof and gutters are ready for winter is to contact a roofing contractor to schedule a roofing maintenance appointment. A maintenance inspection means the roofing contractor will be able to identify and alert you of any problems with the roofing system that may cause leaks or increase the risk of damage to the roofing system during the winter.
Repair or Replace Damaged Flashing
One of the first things a roofing contractor will look for when doing maintenance on your roof is damaged flashing, which is one of the most common causes of a roof leak. Flashing is pieces of metal that are used to protect vent edges, piping, the edges of the roof and the chimney edge. When the flashing is damaged, water will seep through the openings, potentially causing damage to the structure of your home.
Repair or Replace Damaged Shingles
If you notice any damages to the roof, contact a roofing contractor as soon as possible to repair or replace damaged shingles. There are several signs you should be aware of that will alert you of damaged shingles, including:
- Granules in the gutters and/or on the ground
- Shingles that are curling or buckling
- Missing shingles
- Torn shingles
- Dark spots on the shingles
- Mold, mildew or algae on the roof
If you notice any of these problems, contact a roofing contractor for an inspection. If these problems are not addressed before winter, it may mean more extensive and expensive repairs in the spring.
The best time to schedule roofing maintenance is during the spring or early fall. This will ensure all of the necessary repairs are done before the snow falls. Although inspecting the roof yourself may help to identify some problems, it is typically best to have routine maintenance and inspections done by a roofing contractor. Roofing companies are able to identify potential problems with the roof that a homeowner may miss and they will usually make recommendations as to how you can correct other problems that may affect the roof, such as a poor gutter system, damaged chimneys and/or overgrown tree limbs.
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