Getting Your Roof Ready For Winter

November 14, 2022

Winds and storms from the northwest, south from Canada, and across the continent, bringing frigid Arctic air, dominate the climate of the US east coast in the winter. A sound roof is essential for shielding and insulating the house throughout the chilly winter months. So, roofing contractors/builders and homeowners should assess roofing conditions before the weather turns cold.

Numerous issues could arise if you neglect to inspect your roof before winter. Dealing with them in the cold can be more challenging and expensive than solving the problem before it starts to snow. Additionally, wintertime repairs take longer, so it is preferable to have a sturdy roof that can withstand frigid conditions.

Here are some pre-winter roof inspection and preparation tips.

For Contractor/Builders

Assess the Framework

The framework is critical, and you should inspect the structure every year. A roof evaluation allows you to spot any potential thorny issues with the framework before they develop into leaks or other issues. That way, you can address the problems before the clients find themselves with a sagging roof in the middle of the winter.

Any indications of dipping, curling, or sagging in the roof lines require more investigation. Problems with the framework or a wet roof deck can result in a sagging roofline. Roofs suffer from heavy snowfall and rain during the winter, which can strain them, exacerbate drooping, and even cause a cave-in. A sinking roof isn’t immediately dangerous and is probably structurally sound on its own.

However, a repair may be necessary if it also has a leak or other deteriorating symptoms. These are all things to point out to homeowners that need resolution before winter.

Examine the Roof’s Flashing and Shingles

You should assess the area that joins the flashing because it is one of the most common locations for leaks. Ensure the seal is tight. The flashes may occasionally become loose during a storm. If there is a problem, keep moisture out and re-seal these places. You should also check the shingles on the roof and repair any that are missing or loose.

Replace any shingles that appear to be curling or missing granules right away. The shingles or the entire roof may need replacement if there are cracks or moisture damage. You can install new shingles and give homeowners information about the general health of their roofs.

Clean Out the Gutters

It is best to clean the gutters unless the homeowner has experience doing it. Gutter systems shield the house from water damage by regulating the water flow during a storm to prevent water from reaching the foundation. Gutters collect leaves, sticks, and other debris like the roof. Gutter overflow places undue stress on the roof and siding.

Ensure you thoroughly clear them out to avoid clogs and let rainwater and snowmelt properly drain off the roof in the winter season. Ensure all the downspouts are clear and the gutters are secure and tightened. Address any gutter concerns promptly because loose gutters might result in roof damage.

Cleaning in the fall will help you save more time in the winter. Ask the homeowner to consider installing gutter guards and screens to keep leaves out of the gutters. You should also advise the homeowner on more frequent gutter cleaning if they have trees overhanging the roof or live in a damp area.

Check the Valleys

The valleys of a roof are vulnerable to leaks. You should check the valleys thoroughly and clear any debris. It reduces the weight stress on those areas and can extend the roof’s lifespan.

Replace Sealant

Check the sealant around the base of any antennae on the roof to see if it is intact. If any piping or brick stacks are present, you should also check the sealant around their bases. Ensure the roof is protected and replace the sealant if necessary because it can crack over time.

Inspect the Chimney

You must inspect the chimney to ensure that no mortar fragments are missing and that all bricks are firmly in place. If you can’t do the masonry work yourself and the chimney needs repairs, urge the homeowner to hire a masonry contractor.

Asses the Attic

It can save you from having to replace a roof in the winter by inspecting the attic in the fall. Homeowners often forget to check the attic yet it is the first area of the interior to sustain damage if the roof has cracks or leaks. Look for wet insulation, sunlight, or spots, water stains on the walls, damp roof decking, and water puddles on the attic floor.

You may have to advise the homeowner to replace the roof if there is any unusual light or moisture in the attic. It is essential to ensure that the attic has the proper insulation to prevent the house from losing heat. Higher winter utility expenditures may be the result of inadequate attic insulation. Furthermore, ice dams may form if heat is trapped under the shingles. When the snow melts and then freezes again in a cycle, ice dams form, damaging the roof.

Advise the homeowner to arrange for a professional roof inspection if they notice any water damage in their roofing system so that you can restore it to its original condition in time for the winter storms. Also, encourage the homeowner to give attic ventilation some thought. The right attic ventilation system can improve airflow in the attic while reducing the amount of snow and ice that builds up on the roof. The homeowner might save money and energy by maintaining the right temperature in the attic.

Keeping an Eye on the Roof

It is a good idea to request the homeowner to keep a close eye on the roof throughout the winter and report any suspected issues. Also, advise your clients not to attempt getting on the roof during winter because the ice can cause slippery conditions with dangerous consequences. So, a professional roof inspection and repairs are essential before storms arrive to ensure safety and warmth throughout the winter.

For Homeowners

Review Important Homeowner Information

Before any damage occurs this winter, you should be informed of what is covered, regardless of whether your roof has a guarantee or your insurance covers damage caused to your roof by weather or other uncontrollable events.

The warranty period for most shingled roofs is typically 30 years. Keep a record of your maintenance if you have any repairs or inspections performed to safeguard the guarantee on your roof. Regular roof cleaning could be necessary to maintain your warranty; else, it might be revoked.

Typically, insurers only cover roof damage due to vandalism, fire, and severe weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes. So, they only provide coverage for hazards beyond your control because routine roofing improvement initiatives are your responsibility. Your insurance carrier might cover leaky roofs if you show that your roof was well maintained.

Hire a Professional

If you are worried about your roof, make an appointment for a professional inspection because roof damage can quickly go from a simple repair to a complete replacement. A professional inspection can uncover any issues with your roof hidden from an inexperienced eye. In case of is a leak or other problem, having it fixed before winter storms hit hard will guarantee that your roof can withstand the wind, rain, snow, and ice. A professional roofing company should evaluate your roof at least once every year.

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