Is Your Roof Ready for Winter?
Winter was not only unpopular in the world of “Game of Thrones”, but also in reality. Most people don’t look forward to the coldest months of the year for a variety of reasons. Homeowners have even more dilemmas to face.
Is your roof ready for winter?
It is an important question that you need to answer to make your home as resistant and sturdy as possible. So if the leaves are changing colors and the winter jackets are coming out of the closet, spend a little time preparing your roof for winter.
Winterizing a Home
Homeowners are often taken a little off guard when they “winterize” for the first time. It’s surprising the amount of duties you should do to the exterior of your home before the cold weather sets in.
Winterizing can include everything from the roof to the siding, to more mundane tasks like disconnecting hoses and blowing out sprinklers. Regardless, the duties are essential to keep your home in top working order.
Thankfully, roof winterizing isn’t too complex. It doesn’t eat up a ton of time and most of it is completed with a visual inspection. However, the visual inspection is necessary to make sure any important repairs are made before the snow arrives.
If you’re uncomfortable climbing ladders or struggle with heights then it’s worth requesting help from a friend or family member, or better yet hiring a professional.
Roofs should always get accessed only when the top of the home is completely dry, free of snow and ice. It’s important to get a jump on home winterization and begin to inspect your roof in the early fall.
Inspecting a Rooftop
The important aspect to making sure a roof is ready for the winter months is maintenance and repair. Proactive maintenance always prevents minor problems from becoming gigantic, expensive repairs.
However, if you have an older home you may have inherited problems from years of neglect and lack of maintenance, or simply old age of the structure. Every roof has a lifespan and sometimes homeowners are faced with the reality that a full roof replacement is the best option.
Until that point in time you can keep a roof in its best working order by inspecting it a few times each year, especially in the fall to make sure it is prepared for the winter.
The reason winter maintenance on a roof is so important is because moderate to high levels of snowfall will put a lot more weight and stress on the roof.
List of Primary Roof Inspections for Winter
Whether you hire a professional or decide to climb up on the roof yourself here is a checklist of what you should all examine on the rooftop:
- Roof material: The obvious place to start is with the shingles and the actual material of the roofing. You should examine the rooftop for any cracks, bubbles, or missing components. If possible, addressed flaw spots immediately.
- Roof seams: The roof is designed to shelter out moisture and prevent leaks from reaching the interior of a home. Seams are common places where water leaks whether its parapets, caulk joints, or drains. Other rooftop hardware like chimneys, HVAC units, and skylights also can get penetrated by water. Replace any damaged or missing caulking or weatherproofing.
- Flashing: Roof flashing is a thin metal material that roofers install in order to direct water away from critical areas of the rooftop. Flashing exists whenever the roof plane meets a vertical surface, like a dormer. Flashing can show signs of wear and tear like any material on the roof, yet it’s an easy repair.
- Gutters: The gutter system is immensely important to a roof functionally properly. It’s extremely vulnerable once snow begins to melt on the roof and needs to drain properly. Blocked or damaged gutters prevent drainage, so clear debris and make any necessary repairs.
Secondary Roof Inspections for Winter
While not quite as common as primary roof inspections, it’s also important to check the following while up on the roof and inspecting its stability for winter:
- HVAC systems: It’s a good time to winterize the HVAC system while also making sure the unit isn’t compromising the roofing in any way. If not, make appropriate repairs or hire an HVAC tech.
- Critters and pests: Birds and squirrels are two types of animals that are notoriously hard on roofing systems. The same is true of insects that are seeking shelter from the outdoors. Experienced roofers can inspect and note places where critters are causing damage and make necessary adjustments.
- Landscaping: Not all the inspections on the roof take place there but also with the surrounding landscape. For example, a tree with limbs that hang over or above the roof can cause serious problems. What happens if a limb breaks from heavy snowfall and busts open the roof? You also should check to make sure limbs aren’t blocking the path of gutters.
Factoring Snowfall and Roof Limits
It’s important to remember that 10-12 inches of light snow, or 3-5 inches of heavy/packed snow contributes to approximately five pounds per square foot.
When you think about it, that’s a lot of extra weight placed on the roof with each substantial snowfall. Consequently, it’s imperative that you consider the place where you live.
While people in California and Arizona only have to worry about cooler temperatures in the winter, places like Illinois and Wisconsin experience heavy volumes of snow.
As a result, it’s even more important that homeowners in places where heavy snowfall is the norm take extra precautions with their roofing. Two feet of old snow combined with two new feet of snow can add as much as 60 pounds per square foot, which is well over the common safety limit of 20 pounds per foot.
Never thread on the subject lightly. If you have issues on the roof, and live in a place that receives a lot of severe weather in the winter, ignoring basic roofing repairs and winterization is a bad idea.
Hire a Roofer During Winter
No one likes to winterize a home because it takes precious moments out of your limited free-time. However, it’s essential to keep the exterior in full working order as well as prevent damages that may occur inside the home as a result of roof leaks and other issues.
Preparing a roof for winter is not all that complicated or time-consuming. The biggest issue is accessing the roof. Therefore, if you’re uncomfortable you should consider hiring a professional with the experience and qualifications to make the necessary inspections and repairs.
Roofing is still plausible during winter. However, not all roofers work during winter but Feldco Roofing is open all seasons. Now’s the time to replace your roof with asphalt shingles that are tough and durable. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.