Winterize your roof now, to prevent damage later
It can be easy to forget about your roof and even to neglect the maintenance needed to keep it solid and safe. But remember that your roof is one of the most important structures on your home. The safety and security of your home, your family, and your household possessions truly depends on the condition of your roof.
Additionally, your roof is an investment in and of itself, so you certainly want it to last and to function well.
An essential part of roof maintenance is making sure that it is carefully inspected and that any needed repairs are done before the wet, blustery winter weather of our area sets in. Keep in mind that winter is a busy season for roof repair professionals, so addressing your roof’s needs now will help save you from having to make emergency calls when the weather turns bad.
Special circumstances to consider
Every roof should be checked and winterized before the weather turns wet, windy and cold, but it’s especially important to do this in several situations, such as the following:
• If your roof is getting older, it may be particularly vulnerable to wear-and-tear. To extend its life, winterizing is essential. Note: if you have asphalt shingles and you notice sand from them washing into the gutters (more on gutters shortly), it’s a sign that at least some shingles are deteriorating and may need replacement.
• If you will be away from home during the winter months (wintering in Hawaii? Lucky you!) it is absolutely essential to make sure your roof is in the best possible condition before you leave. You don’t want to come home to disastrous damage that could have been prevented.
• If your roof has been subjected to particularly bad weather recently — such as record-breaking summer heat — it is much more likely to need attention and repair.
DIY or call a professional?
Can/should you winterize your roof yourself, or should you call a professional? That depends on several factors including whether you actually have the time, tools, confidence and ability to do the job well. You may well be able to do a good basic inspection, clean the gutters, and do minor repairs yourself, but if more extensive evaluation or work is needed, you’ll probably want it done by professionals. And if your loved ones fret about your climbing a ladder, maybe it’s best to just humor them and hire someone to do the work.
What does winterizing entail?
First there should be a thorough, detailed inspection inside and out. Inside the house, these are some things to look for:
• Check your attic ceiling, or the ceiling immediately below your roof for any sign of leaks, moisture and stains. Some water damage may be caused by condensation rather than roof leaks, so you’ll need to distinguish whether you just need better circulation or require roof repair. Ceiling panels and insulation may hide water damage and damage from vermin for some time, so check carefully for any indication that there are breaches in the roof. Take particular care to look closely at the inside flashing areas around chimneys, vents and skylights attach to the roof.
• The upper areas of inside walls should also be examined for any evidence that there are leaks at the outer edges of the roof.
• If your house roof connects to other structures, such as patio covers or walkways, be sure to check the underside/inside of these attachments (flashing) for signs of deterioration or damage.
Then the roof itself should be inspected minutely. If you want to check out your roof without climbing up on it, you may be able to get a look at the surface by using binoculars. This won’t substitute for a good, hands-on examination though.
Don’t forget to watch for any electrical wires while you are on the roof!
Check for any obvious damage such as broken, curled or missing shingles. Check to make sure that any flashing around chimneys, vents or skylights is intact and well-attached. Also be sure to check the flashing and/or expansion points that connect your roof to other structures (carport, garage, patio canopy etc.) Leaks often begin where flashing is damaged or poorly-installed, and these minor leaks can lead to major structural damage if not addressed.
If tree branches hang above or onto your roof, you may need to prune them to reduce the possibility of damage. You will definitely want to remove any dead branches. Don’t forget about electrical wires!
Then all debris should be removed from the roof with a broom, leaf-blower or pressure-washer. Take it easy with a pressure-washer — you don’t want to loosen or damage your shingles.
Once the roof is clean, double-check to make sure that you haven’t missed any evidence of damage. Then make repairs as needed.
Finally, don’t forget that the other essential part of winterizing your roof is cleaning the rain gutters and replacing any damaged or rusty areas. Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, and if your home is surrounded by trees or has been subjected to winds conveying debris, they may need more frequent cleaning. Your gutters are a key safety factor for preventing water damage to your roof, so make sure they are clean and flowing properly.
We are a family operated business that specializes in roof repair, conversions, over layment and replacements. We take pride in the services that we provide and make sure that all of our customers are satisfied before the project is complete.