Seven Ways To Ensure A Winterized Roof Over Your Head
If you live in a cold climate, your roof may be exposed to snow and ice during the winter months. Before the cold weather sets in, it's a good idea to winterize your roof to withstand the elements. It's best to begin with a thorough roof inspection. A few measures you can take include replacing curled and broken shingles, unclogging the gutters, pruning overhead tree limbs and preventing critters from nesting.
Place a Winter-Proof Roof Over Your Head
You can feel the chill of winter in the air. You've prepared your family with warm winter clothing, and you've ensured your furnace is working properly. Have you also prepared your residential roof for the upcoming season?
To point you in the right direction, here are a few guidelines for winterizing your home's roof:
1. Repair Shingles and Flashing
If you notice loose or or missing shingles, repair or replace them at once. Neglecting to do so may result in a leaky roof and subsequent damage to your home's interior. Repair loose shingles with the use of roofing nails, and do so during dry, mild weather. Also, be sure the roof flashing caulk is not cracked, as this may cause a leak as well.
2. Keep Rain Gutters Unobstructed
Take a look at the overhead gutters. Do you notice leaves, twigs or other debris piling up? This debris may prevent rain and snow from draining properly, damaging the shingles or possibly the foundation of your house.
Before unclogging your gutter, remove debris from the rooftop with a rake. Once back on solid ground, use some type of telescoping extension to remove the debris from the rain gutters. You may also need to remove the downspout if it appears to be clogged.
3. Prune Trees Before Winter Weather Sets In
Are there overhead tree limbs or branches that are close to your roof? If so, the weight of accumulating snow and ice may cause branches and limbs to break off and land on the roof. This may potentially cause roof damage.
Take prevention by pruning those tall trees during late autumn. Be sure to remove any tree limb or branch that extends near the roof eaves.
4. Ward Off Unwanted Pests
During cold weather, it's not uncommon for rodents and birds to take up residence under the eves or inside roof vents. To deter unwelcome rooftop guests, inspect the vents for signs of damage. If screen vents and caps are torn, replace them at once.
Seal off any entry holes on or near the roof, and check the roof flashing to be sure it's secure. Also, check for signs of insects and rodents, as downspouts are a common refuge from the cold.
5. Install Rooftop Heat Tracing Cables
Heating cables or heat tape can help de-ice your roof during winter storms. These cables are also good for melting ice dams on the roof. Melting the ice may prevent your roof from leaking.
You'll find heat tracing cables are available in various voltages. Your roofing contractor can inform you which is suitable for the length of cable that's used. If you have no experience with this type of installation, it's best to hire a professional.
6. Install Attic Insulation
If your attic is not properly insulated, ice formation is more likely to occur on the roof. Insulate the attic before the arrival of winter weather. You may prefer blanket insulation, as it is readily available at home improvement stores. It comes in a rolled form, often made of fiberglass or plastic, and it is to be installed between the studs and joists.
7. Inspect and Repair the Chimney
If you have a rooftop chimney, you need to inspect it periodically. Without an installed chimney cap, birds or squirrels may take refuge from the cold inside your chimney. Also, repair chimney cracks, as this may cause leaks. Erosion of the mortar joints may also occur from water leakage, and the damper may become corroded.
One Last (Important) Consideration
Don't wait until winter weather damages your roof or house structure. It's crucial to have your roof inspected periodically by a licensed residential roofing contractor. If your winter weather is especially harsh, yearly inspections may be the best course of action.