If you live in a region that experiences extreme winter weather, then you are no doubt familiar with the damage that can be caused by snow, ice, and seasonal storms. Not only can inclement weather knock over trees and turn the roadways into slick, pothole-riddled death traps, but it can also have an effect on any possessions left exposed if you’re not careful. This is why you park your car in the garage, store your outdoor furniture in the shed, and add storm windows in place of screens before winter weather rolls around. But the portion of your home that is perhaps the most exposed is the roof. And nobody wants to deal with a leak, an outright collapse, or other roof damage when temperatures are below freezing and blizzards are in full swing. So here are a few tips to prevent snow and ice damage and keep your roof intact.
The place to start is with an inspection and cleaning, which you should plan to do every fall. With the leaves falling, it’s a good idea to get up top before winter to clean the gutters and sweep away any detritus that has gathered on the roof. If this mess remains when the snow begins to fall, you’re much less likely to get up there to clean. And the result could be clogged gutters and a heavy mass of frozen leaves that puts terrible strain on your roofing structure.
Once the debris has been cleared away you can get a good look at the condition of gutters, downspouts, and the rest of your roof. Pay close attention to any areas where water could potentially get in, such as around vents, chimneys, and skylights, just for example. Make sure all caulking and flashing is intact and in good condition (no flaking or peeling). Gutters should be solid and free of holes. From there you can go over the rest of the roof in search of shingles that are curling, peeling, or missing, or shakes or tiles that are cracked or otherwise damaged.
Your job is not done, though. You also need to get into the attic with a good flashlight and look for any signs of leaking, including wetness, water stains, mold, rot, and so on. What you can’t see on the outside will show up under the roof. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to call out a roofing specialist like Heritage Roofing and Waterproofing Inc. to consult and/or repair the issues before winter weather hits.
Prevention begins with making sure that your roof is in ship shape before the temperature plummets and the snow starts to fall. But your efforts may not end there, especially if snow and ice are prone to collecting on your roof. Unless you have an A-frame structure that naturally lends itself to sloughing off snow, you could end up with quite a wintry cap on your roof. And it’s not as downy and light as it looks, especially if there’s ice underneath. In fact, a roof laden with snow is much more likely to see the formation of ice dams that keep more snow trapped on your roof.
While you shouldn’t go walking around on your roof in the winter for obvious safety reasons, there are services that specialize in snow removal, and they generally recommend removal when the snow up top gets to be six or more inches deep. You can wait out the winter if you dare, but you risk damage from snow and ice if you fail to properly maintain your roof.