There are several steps to take in order to properly winterize your home, yet preparing your roof is one that is often overlooked.
The reality is that your roof often takes the most strain during the cold winter months, as it bears the majority of the weight that comes from wet snow and ice. Excessive moisture can actually accelerate roof damage and expose the interior of your home to the harsh winter elements.
Ensure your roof is ready for the drop in temperature by following these routine recommendations.
Clean Before the Cold
The best way to get ready for winter is to clean your gutters and roof of all leaves and debris well before the cold sets in. Snow can easily catch on sticks and twigs, leading to rot and deterioration. Lingering fall foliage can also prevent snow from melting and running off onto the ground.
To avoid unnecessary buildup of debris, trim your trees in the summer well before the leaves begin to fall.
Get Rid of Snow Quickly
Make sure to have your snow removal plans in place well before the chilly weather arrives. Snow load on roof is incredibly heavy and causes undue stress on roofs. Many homes have been known to buckle under the burden of wet snow.
One of the quickest ways to remove snow is with a roof rake. This long, plastic roller tool is a cinch for most homeowners to maneuver.
Check Your Shingles and Flashing
A key step in avoiding roof leaks is to repair broken or missing shingles. Your shingles are your first line of defense against moisture seeping into your home, so make sure they are in good working order before subjecting them to the bitter elements.
Also, check your flashing. Flashing protects your house from water damage by directing moisture away from weak spots. Without proper flashing, your gutters are more likely to form ice dams and collapse from the pressure.
Unfortunately, by the time you see any evidence of strain (ice dams, icicles, leakage, etc.), your roof might already be in need of serious restoration.
Insulate Your Attic
Another way to evade ice dams is to adequately insulate your attic. Uneven insulation can often lead to hot spots on the roof where the snow melts faster, turning it into ice overnight.
An added benefit of attic insulation is a lower utility bill, as insulation keeps the inside of your home at a consistently reliable temperature.
If these preventative tasks seem overwhelming, consider hiring a professional to do a quick home inspection in the summer or fall. He or she can repair weak areas, fix loose or broken shingles, and ensure your roof is ready for winter.
In the end, you will find that proper maintenance of your roof before and during the winter months can prevent expensive future repairs.
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