In order to avoid issues during the spring thaw, it’s essential to know how to prepare your roof for winter.
Improper prep can lead to ice dams, leaks, and unforeseeable damage to your roof or gutters this winter. Plus, you may end up spending more money on those heating bills. So let’s cover the winter roofing basics!
Prepping Your Roof for Winter
There are a few key steps to take in the fall to get your roof and home ready for the frigid temps and heavy snowfall.
Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
The first thing you need to do is clean out your gutters and downspouts to get ready to drain off the spring thaw. In the summer and fall, sticks and debris, especially leaves, can fall on your roof and fill up your gutters to where rain and thaw cannot properly flow through.
Clear Any Debris (large or small) From Your Roof’s Surface
Even if you are not directly under a tree, those late summer storms can bring a lot of mess down on your roof, which can eventually wash into your gutters and downspouts, clogging them throughout the winter and causing ice dams. So, make sure the roof is clear of debris so water can flow freely when that snow starts to melt.
Inspect Your Roof for Cracks, Loose, or Missing Shingles
Giving your roof one final visual inspection can catch any leak-causing flaws or other damage can save you the pain of water leaks come spring. Look for cracked or loose shingles or any loose nail heads sticking up. Those nail heads, if left unattended, could lead to loose shingles or act as a snag for debris and not allow it to wash off the roof.
Repair or Replace Your Roof’s Flashing if Needed
Your roof’s flashing is often one of the first things to need replacing, and staying on top of repairs can save you a ton of time and money from leaks due to failed flashing. Check your flashing along the house and corners of the roof, especially around the chimney and any odd angles, to avoid leaks from the heavy snow and allow it to flow down the flashing properly.
Check Your Home’s Interior for Signs of Leaks (And Repair Them Right Away!)
If you notice stains on your ceiling, chances are you may have a leak in your roof. However, if you notice these new stains during the winter, it’s not necessarily roof-related. Typically if there is a leak like that in the dead of winter, the issue is related to poor insulation causing condensation build up in the attic.
If you do find yourself with an issue like this in the winter, give us a call. We are well versed in home performance and how your entire home should work cohesively to prevent issues like this.
Check Your Attic’s Ventilation (and Insulation)
Some homeowners are completely unaware that the attic’s performance is directly linked to roof ventilation and insulation. If the attic is inadequately insulated or ventilated, it will expose the roof to winter weather conditions. This can drive up heating costs and leave your home susceptible to water damage from accumulated moisture. Therefore, it’s critical to maintain a constant airflow in your attic space to adequately heat and cool the area and keep conditions temperature controlled.
How to Maintain Your Roof During the Winter Months
Just because you followed all of the critical steps to prep your roof and gutters for the winter doesn’t mean the maintenance stops for the next few months. Winter maintenance is also key to ensuring your home and roof stay safe from leaks and damage, especially if you experience heavy snowfall. Here are a few things you can do to maintain your roof during the winter months.
Remove Snow Using a Roof Rake
Heavy snow can put a lot of weight on your roof’s drip edge and gutters. It can also lead to massive ice dams forming. So, removing heavy snow from your roof can help alleviate any pressure on your roof and keep you and your family safe from any mini avalanches that can injure passersby. To safely remove snow from your roof, you should either A) use the proper tools such as a roof rake or shovel or B) hire a professional snow removal team to prevent injuring yourself or damaging your roof. We highly recommend the latter.
Hire a Professional Team for Ice Dam Removal
In addition to snow removal, you may also hire a team to remove any ice dams or large icicles from your roof. Despite all of your winter prep, it’s possible they still happen, and they can be both damaging and dangerous for anyone walking by. First American Roofing can come safely remove your ice dams using hot steam, which ensures safe, damage-free removal.
Add More Insulation
If you still notice higher-than-normal heating bills, feel cold drafts near your attic, or notice more ice build-up than usual, you may want to re-insulate the attic. Of course, it’s always best to insulate before the winter, but you can still add some, at least temporarily, to get you through until spring. First American Roofing can come to do a whole home performance test and pinpoint the issue. Then we can insulate your attic to improve heating and cooling and ensure proper home performance.
We want to say that you should always call a professional for any roofing issues, especially if you feel uncomfortable inspecting yourself. We want everyone to be safe and smart when it comes to doing anything with their homes, especially on the roof. So we are happy to come out to your property and help you inspect your roof and anything else around the property before and during winter.
We are passionate about home performance and know the importance of every system in your home working properly for any of it to work at all. So, stay warm this winter and watch out for inefficient windows, heating, or ventilation. Located in Holmen, Wisconsin, First American Roofing is here to help. Contact us today for a FREE estimate.