How To Winter-Proof Your Roof: A Step By Step Guide
Winter might invite some amazing things like holidays, festivals, and uninterrupted family time, but it also brings harsh weather. It’s a season for us to huddle up inside our cozy home with a warm cup of coffee. However, for your home to protect you from the cold and the snow, you need to ensure that your roof is in good condition.
Inspect The External Appearance And The Framework
Inspecting your roof might sound simple, but you should know what to watch out for. If you can see dark patches, it means that your roof is weaker or worn out in spots. Notice if there are small puddles of water collecting on some parts of your roof. Walk on the roof and check if it feels spongy under your feet. These are all signs of water damage, and they need to be fixed.
Check out the condition of the framework. Does the roof look like it’s sagging? This could be a warning sign. It is a result of structural damage. If this is not taken care of, the roof might collapse under the weight of snow.
Check If Flashing And Mortar Are Intact
Flashing is a roll of thin metal or some other waterproof substance used around projections on the roof like a chimney or an antenna. It directs water away from the critical areas on the roof and protects the house against ice or water damage. If the flashing appears broken or damaged, it needs immediate attention.
Mortar is quite a common material used in roofs, especially in older houses. It is used to seal junctions like verges and ridges to make sure that water doesn’t seep through them. Mortar wears away with time. Extreme changes in weather might also cause the mortar sealing to crack, destroying its waterproofing properties. Hence, it is necessary to check on the condition of the mortar every year before the winter sets in and get repairs if required.
Pay Extra Attention To Roof Valleys And Ridges
Look for any signs of deterioration on the roof valleys. If you have noticed granules deposited in the gutters or the area around your house, you need to get your roof checked for damage. The ridge of the roof is the line along which the two roof areas intersect. This line is usually capped to prevent water from seeping in. Any damage along the ridge needs to be assessed and fixed before winter as it leaves the roof in a weak state.
Shingles are crucial for the health of your roof. While inspecting shingles, you must consider their age. Three-tab shingles can protect a roof for 20-25 years before you need to replace them. Wood shingles may last 30 to 40 years, whereas wood shakes can last anywhere between 20 to 40 years. Clay tiles last for about 50 years, while metal can maintain its integrity for 70 years. Slate offers the maximum longevity, at around 100 years. Aged shingles need to be replaced so that the roof gets maximum protection even during the harshest winter.
Keep an eye open for broken, curled, or missing shingles. The damaged shingles could be shaken off easily in rough weather. The empty spots left by missing shingles leave the roof susceptible to permanent water damage. Your roof shingles must be in their peak state before winter.
While you are examining the shingles, also make sure that the underlay is still strong. Even shingles of the best quality can’t salvage a rotting underlay. If you notice a lot of damage, you might have to get your roof replaced.
Clear Debris From Your Roof
You must clean any debris off your roof. This isn’t just for hygiene or aesthetics. When debris keeps collecting on your roof, it can trap water or ice and cause extensive water damage. This might contribute to the formation of ice dams, the biggest enemy of roofs.
Clean Gutters And Make Sure They Are Secure
Gutters are essential when it comes to directing water away from your roof. Clean them out thoroughly to make sure they are not clogged. If you notice that they are damaged or seem flimsier than you remember them, get them repaired. Also, ensure that they are attached securely and that there is no chance of them coming off when the weather gets harsh.
Inspect The Interiors
Many people don’t realize how important it is to inspect the interiors of the house for signs of roof damage. Many tell-tale signs actually lie indoors. Let’s find out how to spot signs of roof damage from inside the house:
- Turn off all the lights in the attic. Make sure no light is coming in through the windows or any other openings. Stare at the roof carefully and check if any light is coming through. This is an efficient method to detect fine cracks and tiny holes. You have to look carefully to make sure you don’t miss anything. This should tell you whether your roof requires repairs.
- Leaks or wet patches on the walls or ceilings could point to roof damage. It would be wise to locate the source of leaks and assess the extent of the damage.
- Unusual stains or unwanted growth like mold or mildew also reflect serious water damage. We already know how mold and mildew affect health, but it could also mean that your roof is rotting, and this needs urgent repair.
- Have you been hearing critters inside your house? Do you also notice squirrels and raccoons on your property too often? Certain spots in your roof might be weak enough for insects and small animals to get through. Get this checked as soon as you can.