Winter is almost upon us, and there are several precautions that homeowners can take to protect their roofs from winter damage. It’s important to remember that roof snow load calculations vary depending on the location of the house (mountainous vs. flat regions), as well as other factors such as proximity to large bodies of water and wind direction. As such, it is best for homeowners in any region to consult with a professional if they have questions.
That being said, here are five ways you can help keep your roof safe during stormy weather.
Clear Roof Debris and Trim Trees
Before winter arrives, make sure you remove all leaves and branches from the surface of your roof. If you have trees near your roof, it is important to ensure that they are pruned back from the edge at least 12 inches out. This way, if large amounts of ice build up on tree branches during winter storms, they won’t break under the weight and damage your roof.
Utilize Ice & Water Shield Underlayment
While not technically an ‘underlayment’, ice and water shield provides a secondary layer of protection against leaks caused by ice dams or other sources during winter weather while also acting as a windbreak. Plus, it is durable and waterproof, so once it is installed correctly you don’t have to worry about your roof for many winters to come.
Install a Valley Flashing
If you have wood or asphalt shingles on your roof, you should install valley flashing underlayment near the ridgeline where the roof meets any vertical surfaces such as chimneys, dormers, and skylights. This helps divert water away from these areas and safeguard them from winter wind damage.
Ensure Regular Gutter Maintenance
If you have gutters on your roof, it is important to keep them clean during the winter months so that they can divert melted snow away from the edge of your roof. Otherwise, the water could freeze and damage the shingles or sheet metal.
Be Careful Around Chimneys
While fireplaces and other chimney features provide a nice little hole to the atmosphere, they can cause significant problems for your roof if not handled correctly.
In particular, you should make sure that any snow surrounding the base of your chimney is cleaned up as best as possible during winter storms. This prevents it from melting due to heat from the flue and then refreezing feet away from the edge of the exterior wall where it will put pressure on your shingles.
Install Metal Flashing Against Your Skirt Boards & Siding
When an air leak develops in your ventilation system (e.g., attic or crawl space), warm air rises quickly through these passages and often melts snow on top of the roof. This then refreezes at the eaves and creates ice dams, which can lead to leaks and additional damage to your exterior walls and skirt boards.
A metal flashing installed on top of your skirt board near its joints with other surfaces is an important preventative measure against these types of concerns during the winter months.
Conduct Any Needed Repairs Before Winter Comes
If your roof has any areas that have been patched or repaired, it’s important to put a sealant on the spot so that the area does not wear prematurely during winter storms. You should also repair any loose, cracked, or peeled shingles during the off-season so that they do not blow away due to winter winds.
You want to make sure you have a complete layer of protective covering on your entire rooftop before cold weather comes. Otherwise, you risk water damage and permanent leaks in your ceiling or walls that can lead to even more expensive repairs down the road.
Shingle roofs are especially at risk for damage due to refreezing throughout winter storms. It’s important to take proper precautions against such damage during the off-season so that you can avoid unnecessary expenses after the winter season. Click here to view more about how a roofing company can help protect your roof during winter.