Winter is a beautiful yet harsh season that can take a toll on your roof. As the seasons change, so does the maintenance routine for your home. One area that demands our attention before winter sets in is the roof.
Fall is the right time to inspect your roof for damage or leaks, and it’s important to get ahead on any repairs before the freezing months. Look for damaged shingles, rusted flashing, and cracked seals around vents, chimneys, or skylights. If you notice any of those issues, you must repair them before winter to prevent further damage.
It’s best to get professional help if you don’t have experience working on a roof. It is safer for both you and your home to avoid working high on your roof, and it’s crucial to make sure repairs are done right by licensed contractors who know what they’re doing. But if damages are small enough and you’re determined to DIY on repairs, we’ve put together a list of winter roof maintenance work to get started on.
Inspect the Roof
Inspect your roof at least twice a year: once before winter and once before summer. Look for signs of damage, such as missing or cracked shingles, rusted flashing, or any other anomalies that look out of place.
Use a checklist of areas to examine to help with your inspection. This list should include flashings, vents, shingles, and gutters. Check the inside for mold, water stains, or leaks that may signify an issue with your roof.
If you don’t know what you’re looking at or aren’t sure whether or not repairs are necessary, you should reach out to your local roofing company. O’Donnell Roofing Co. and many other roofing companies offer free estimates and inspections, so get a second opinion as soon as possible to avoid further damages.
Clean the Gutters
In winter, gutters can become clogged with leaves, debris, and ice dams. This can cause water to back onto your roof, leading to leaks and other damage. To prevent this, clean your gutters regularly throughout the winter season.
Another choice is to install a gutter guard. It prevents debris, such as leaves, twigs, and other materials, from clogging up your gutters.
Gutter guards can prevent backups, leading to water damage to your roof, walls, and foundation. Gutter guards can reduce the need for frequent gutter cleaning, saving you time and money in the long run.
Gutter guards can be made from mesh, foam, and brush-like bristles. They come in different shapes and sizes to fit different types of gutters.
Trim Trees and Branches
One of the most critical steps to take when maintaining your roof during winter is to trim tree branches too close to your roof. These branches can become weighed down by snow or ice, causing them to snap and potentially damage your roof.
When trimming these branches, hiring a professional with the right equipment is important to avoid risks. As Tree Care Tips notes, “Homeowners should never attempt their own tree removal. It isn’t worth the risk, and will likely cause more problems than it solves.”
Make sure to clear away any debris that may have accumulated on your roof or in your gutters. Remember—debris, leaves, and snow can cause serious damage to your roof over time and clog gutters, leading to leaks and other issues.
So take time to clear it away! Use a snow rake or hire a professional to do so. This will prevent damage and ensure that water can drain off your roof, preventing ice dams from forming.
Check Attic Insulation
An often-overlooked aspect of winter roof maintenance is checking your attic insulation. Poor insulation can lead to heat loss, ice dams, and increased energy bills.
Ice dams can form when heat escapes through your roof and causes snow to melt before refreezing at the roof’s edge. This can lead to leaks and other damage.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your attic insulation is up to par:
1. Check for air leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect common problem areas, such as around chimney flues, recessed lighting fixtures, and vents. Seal any leaks with caulk or weather stripping.
2. Measure your insulation levels. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, attics in most homes should have at least 11 to 15 inches of insulation.
3. Upgrade your insulation. If your current insulation levels are inadequate or you have an older home with a drop ceiling, it may be worth investing in an upgrade to save on heating costs and prevent damage.
4. Consider a radiant barrier. In addition to traditional insulation, you could install a radiant barrier (a reflective material) to help keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
Keeping your attic insulated is an integral part of winter roof maintenance. It will keep you warmer and more comfortable and help prevent expensive repairs.
Seal Leaks and Cracks
Sealing leaks and cracks is vital to prevent water from entering your home. You can use roofing cement or caulk to seal smaller leaks or cracks. It is best to call a professional roofer for more significant damage.
Pay attention to the flashing on your roof when sealing leaks and cracks. Flashing is a thin metal strip installed around roof openings like chimneys, skylights, and vents.
If it is damaged, water can seep in and cause damage to the interior of your home. Inspect your flashing for any signs of wear or rust, and replace it if necessary.
Poor insulation allows heat to escape and can create snow melt, leading to leaks and ice dams. Proper ventilation can reduce humidity and allow for adequate airflow, keeping your roof in good condition.
Get Your Winter Roof Maintenance Done Right
Keeping up with the maintenance of your home can be exhausting and especially frustrating if you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of roofing, don’t have the proper tools for quality maintenance tasks, or simply don’t have the time.
If that’s the case, go ahead and leave your winter roof maintenance to the professionals, and if you notice any significant issues with your roof, such as leaks or damage, contact a roofing company like O’Donnell Roofing Co. for immediate help.
O’Donnell Roofing Co. provides high-quality residential and commercial roofing and gutter services. Contact us at 610-897-7495 for all your roofing needs, or visit our blog for more educational information on how to maintain your roof.
Don’t let winter weather catch you off guard. Stay safe and dry with O’Donnell Roofing Co.