Winter is coming. It’s that time of year again – the leaves have long since fallen to the ground, there’s a nip in the air, and the holidays are on people’s minds. Along with all the merriment of the season, prepping yourself and your home for the cold should be a priority. You and your family will want to enjoy yourselves this winter, and staying warm and cozy means ensuring your roof is in top shape this season.
Before it gets too cold, here are some checks you’ll want to do on your roof:
Take Stock of Your Shingles
The easiest and best check you can do is on your shingles. Take in how they look. Do you see any shingles missing? Are there any exaggerated sags in the roof ridge line? What about damage from nearby trees or branches? If you’re not comfortable heading onto your roof yourself, calling a roofing & eavestrough professional is recommended, as the last thing you want is a fall or injury. Ask your contractor to take a close look at areas where shingles interact with other elements, such as flashing, brick, plumbing stacks, or antennas. The sealant that is used around these areas can weather down and crack open after time and exposure to the elements, so taking note of their condition will help prevent heat loss.
Clear Your Gutters
With all the precipitation expected during the cold months, you want to ensure your gutters are clear. Because they are used to drain and flow water away from your house, any blockages like mulch from nearby trees, bird nests, debris and dirt will cause clogs and potential water damage to your home. Additionally, because of the extreme dip in temperature during the winter, the water that gathers here due to blockages can freeze. If your gutters are frozen over, falling snow and melting ice can seep into your roof, flooding your home’s foundation. Checking your gutters and having them cleaned before winter is a way to prevent all of this from happening.
Check Out the Attic
Checking in on your attic from the inside of your home can be a helpful way to identify any problems. Things to check for include:
- Water Leaks – a flashlight will help you see if there is any dripping water, signs of condensation or water stains. Check the ceiling, walls, and floors.
- Ventilation – if your attic isn’t properly ventilated, it can cause a slew of winter roof problems. Making sure your attic vents are clear of debris is necessary.
- Animal Damage – small animals such as birds, bats, squirrels, and raccoons can really take a toll on your attic and cause some serious damage. Look out for droppings, gnawed wood or insulation, and wire breaks. If you do see anything like this, call a pest control service right away.
- Structural Damage – sagging in the roof will be a sure sign that there is structural damage to your home. Make sure you check this thoroughly.
Prune Your Trees
Make sure the trees on your property or in the vicinity of your home are properly trimmed and cut. Lanky branches are heavier than they seem and once laden with ice and snow can break and fall into your home. This can damage your gutters and potentially cause holes and damage to your roof. As seen in the infamous 2013 Toronto ice storm, taking risks with trees and branches can really put you in a tough spot.
Check for Ice Dams
When you call the professional to check your roof and gutters, ask them to evaluate your roof for ice dams. Ice dams are created in cold weather when heat escapes your home. This heat melts down and then refreezes ice and snow already on your roof, which then creates ice dams. Ice dams can be very hard to deal with, as they can block off drains, letting water continually build up on your roof. This weakens the roof and the underlying structure, where not only are things like heat loss and water damage a concern, but roof collapses too.
Take heed this winter and beat jack frost to his game. Ensure your roofing is in top shape for the impending season.