We always recommend hiring a professional when it comes to working on your roof. Still, if you have the experience and qualifications and decide to handle small roofing projects yourself, we have a few tips to guide you through.
Winter & Cold Weather
Your roof keeps your home covered, protected, and warm. Winter and cold weather can do a number on your roof, and there are a few things you can do to avoid issues when it comes to snow, ice, and efficient heating.
Snow & Ice Dam Removal
In the winter, a roof that is poorly insulated can prevent snow and ice from melting and shedding properly off of your roof. If you have large ice dams building up on the gutters of your roof, it can cause damage to your shingles and gutters by trapping moisture. The sheer weight alone can destroy your gutters. If you find yourself with ice dams, DO NOT knock them down with a long tool. It can be very dangerous, and you risk it falling on top of you. Also, whatever that ice dam is frozen too, is going to come down with it. The chance of damaging your roof or gutters is likely if you try to hit or knock down the heavy snow and ice.
What we recommend is using steam to melt it on the bottoms so it can easily slide off without taking anything with it. There are also special snow shedding tools that can lightly remove it, while guiding it down the side of the roof, without causing an avalanche of sorts. First American Roofing does offer both of these services. We help with snow and ice removal throughout the winter — do not hesitate to call us!
Poor insulation, more often than not, is the cause of snow and ice build-up. So, the best thing to do is to reinsulate your attic so that it holds the proper temperature and allows heat to rise and melt the snow and ice. Reinsulating in the winter can be cold and cumbersome, so call a professional to reinsulate, or temporarily add insulation until spring or summer, when you can properly re-insulate.
By keeping up with small repairs, you can prevent a lot of further problems or a full roof replacement for the time being. Seasonal checks can catch a lot of repairs. Look for cracked shingles, misplaced shingles, or any loose or cracked gutters.
Signs of a leak include drafty rooms, stains on the ceiling, or visible watermarks and bulging along skylights or ceiling tiles. Some products can help repair leaks. Caulking and replacing the shingle on or around the leak can also ensure the repair.
Gutters that are falling or cracked don’t work efficiently, and can put more strain on your roof, and can damage the other gutters around it. Carefully remove the damaged gutters or downspouts and pick up the proper ones you need at your local hardware store. Depending on the type of gutter, you can get them measured and pre-cut to fit your roof. Make sure you know if they go over or under the shingles, or need any extra connectors. Always measure twice and cut once. Make sure you have some tin snips and new downspouts to adhere to any new gutters on the end.
Contact your local professional for help reattaching them to the roof if you have trouble. There is no need to cause more damage or endanger yourself by trying to force on a new gutter.
Flashing is installed along any joints of your roof where shingles meet the side of the house, chimney, or some other change in the surface. It keeps water and moisture from seeping in through joints along walls. Replacing any flashing around the chimney or sides of the house requires precision and some expertise. Flashing can be awkward to install on odd angles and joints, so it may be best to call a professional or someone experienced to help install. Installing flashing incorrectly can lead to leaks and trapped moisture.
If you find yourself with one or more damaged shingles from severe weather, a tree branch, or some other mishap, it can be relatively simple to replace yourself. As long as you can easily and safely get to the damaged shingle. Start by removing the entire shingle, or part of the damaged shingle with a utility knife. Slide the appropriate new shingle back into that place, with some roofing nails, and seal with some roof cement. These small repairs could save a lot of money in the long run and keep up with the longevity of your shingles if they were replaced in the last 10-20 years. Small repairs can keep more significant problems like leaks happening down the road, and avoid a full roof replacement.
Regular maintenance of your roof and gutters can help prolong their lives and keep them working efficiently. A lot of maintenance can be done yourself, and generally revolves around changing of seasons with leaves, ice, snow, and rain. Ensuring proper maintenance can keep your roof in tip-top shape for years to come.
Cleaning Gutters and Downspouts
Using a hose, you can flush your gutters and downspouts of debris and catch any snags or leaks while you’re at it. You can also detach your downspouts and clean them out. A clogged downspout can cause a chain reaction and clog the gutters. To keep it flowing freely, watch for recurrent ice dams or snow build-up, which can cause extra weight and strain on your gutters and roof.
Installing gutter guards can be a game-changer for keeping your gutters flowing free and clear. Gutter guards go over the existing gutters and contain slats or ridges that help guide debris off the edge of the roof, without clogging up the gutters. We recommend Raindrop Gutter Guards because of their amazing technology that increases the flow of debris and decreases the chance of clogged gutters.
If your roof is so damaged that you need to replace it, you should be sure to consider all the different types of roofs and their lifespan. It’s always good to know your options!
Full Roof Replacement
Metal roofing lasts far longer than other types and is often called the 100-year roof. Composite shingles last 10-20 years, the very popular asphalt shingles last anywhere from 15-30 years, and wood shingles can last 20-25 years with proper maintenance. First American Roofing can be your resource for roof replacement from the beginning plans to the beautiful end result. Call us for your FREE estimate at 608-247-5494.