Your roof is the barrier that stands between your family and the harsh weather, so you want to make sure that it is functioning well and able to keep you warm and cozy all winter long. Taking a few simple steps to avoid winter roofing problems before the cold weather sets in will help your roof withstand the coming storms, and give you confidence that your home will remain safe and dry in the coming months.
Check Your Roofline
The first step you should take when you begin preparing your roof for winter is to look at your roofline. Your roof lines should be straight, so any signs of dipping, curving, or sagging are signs that you need to investigate. A sagging roofline can be caused by framing issues or by a saturated roof deck.
During the winter season, roofs are exposed to heavy rain and snowfall that can stress the roof, worsen sagging, and even lead to a cave-in. A sagging roof isn’t an immediate cause of concern on its own and is most likely structurally okay. But if it is accompanied by a leak or other signs of deterioration, a repair may be necessary.
Check Chimney Flashing For Leaks
The next place you’ll want to inspect is the chimney. Chimney flashing is the strip of metal that seals the intersection of the chimney and your roof, and is one of the most common spots for roof leaks to develop. Leaky flashing can often be mistaken for a leaky roof.
Check to make sure your flashing doesn’t appear to be loose or damaged, and that the caulk holding it in place hasn’t cracked or deteriorated. Also make sure to look for any signs of water intrusion near the chimney.
Check The Attic For Signs Of Water Damage
Once you’ve checked on your chimney, head up to your attic, because in many cases, the first signs of a leaky roof can be seen there. Signs of a leak include water spots on the walls, wet roof decking, and puddles of water on the attic floor. If you discover any evidence of water damage in your roofing system, schedule a professional roof inspection so that you can get your roof back into top condition before the winter storms arrive.
After you inspect your roof, you should move into the cleaning phase. It is common for leaves, twigs, and other debris to accumulate on your roof during the fall season, but if that debris is left on your roof all winter, the piles will become waterlogged, leaving your roof susceptible to water damage beneath the soggy mess. You can safely remove the debris with a leaf blower, or with your hands.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Just like the roof, gutters are catch-alls for leaves, sticks and other debris. Make sure to clean them out completely in order to prevent clogs, and allow snowmelt and rainwater to drain off your roof properly in the coming months.
Trim Low Hanging Branches
Winterizing your roof also involves preparing the trees near your home. Trees with low-hanging branches near your roof are a particular threat in the winter season. During a storm, snow and ice can build up on these branches and cause them to snap under the additional weight and land on your roof. Trimming or removing these branches will eliminate the risk of branch related damage all winter long.
If the branches extend over your roof, it may be risky to remove them yourself. In this case, call a professional arborist to help with the job and ensure that your roof is safe during the process.
Get Your Roof Professionally Inspected
Roof damage can go from needing a simple repair to requiring a total roof replacement very quickly, so if you have any concerns about your roof, schedule a professional roof inspection. A professional inspection will bring to light any existing problems with your roof that aren’t visible to an untrained eye. If a leak or other issue is identified, scheduling the repairs before winter storms come in full force will ensure that your roof is prepared to handle the coming rain, snow, ice, and wind.
Let us help!
Since 1977, ShenCorp Inc. has specialized in commercial roofing throughout Winchester, VA, Charlottesville, VA, Waynesboro, VA, Richmond, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region. Call ShenCorp now for your total roofing services.