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Roof It Forward - ​​Winter Roofing Tips: Keeping Your Roof in Top Shape During Cold Months

October 03, 2023

No matter where you live, winter can bring harsh weather. Whether it is snow, ice, hail, or just cold temperatures, your roof can take a beating in the winter. Before the cold weather starts, you should ensure that your roof is ready and prepared to withstand winter weather. Use these winter roofing tips to keep your roof in top shape during the winter months.

Check Your Gutters

Your gutter system is an essential component of your complete roofing system. In the winter, snow, ice, and debris can damage your gutters. If icicles begin to form on the side of your gutters, they need to be removed to prevent excess weight. If ice begins to collect inside of your gutters, the additional weight can eventually cause structural damage. Also, if the snow and ice clog, your gutters, it prevents them from being able to function properly. Clogged gutters will prevent anything from moving through your gutter system, forcing it to build up or overflow off the side.

Your gutters need maintenance all year round. Learn more about cleaning and maintaining your gutters.

Repair Any Damaged Shingles

If you have noticed any missing or damaged shingles on your roof, you need to have it resolved as soon as possible. The longer your roof decking is exposed, the higher the chances of leaks forming. Any damage to shingles could cause water damage, additional shingle damage, mold growth, leaks, and water damage to ceilings and walls.

Instead of going onto your roof yourself, you should hire an experienced roofing contractor to perform a visual inspection, especially for the hard-to-see areas.

Don't Forget About Your Attic

The attic in your home is closely tied to your roof. Your ventilation and insulation can have a massive impact on the state of your roof and home.

Attic ventilation is meant to reduce moisture build-up to prevent leaks, mold & mildew growth, and structural damage by allowing airflow to occur between the inside of your home and outside. This airflow also allows heat to escape to help melt snow and ice that is on your roof during the winter.

Attic insulation is a part of the roof ventilation system but is adding in additional insulation to create a better barrier between the inside and outside of your home. One of the major benefits of improving your attic insulation is improved energy efficiency for your home. With a stronger barrier to the outside of your home, the warm air your HVAC units are producing stays inside your home, instead of seeping through your roof. This allows you to spend less money on energy bills and allows your HVAC units to expend less energy over time, keeping them in better condition.

Remove Snow From Your Roof

When there is any snowfall in the winter, you should do your best to remove the snow off your roof with a roof rake. If snow sits too long on your roof, the additional weight could cause harm to your roof. It also increases the risk of ice dams forming, which can cause additional damage to your roof.

Take a Look At Your Flashing

Roof flashing is layers of waterproof material, typically metal or steel, that cover susceptible areas of your roof to direct water away from it. This can include around your chimney, any skylights, and around vents. If your flashing is not in good shape, has become loose, or has warped over time, that can allow snow and ice to get into your roof. This can lead to potential leaks, which can turn into water damage over time.

Pay Attention To Your Trees

If you have any large tree branches that hang over your roof, you want to have them trimmed before winter. In the event of snow and ice building up on the tree branch, it could potentially crack from the added weight, then falling on your roof. If there is no snow or ice in your area, any rough winter storms with strong winds could cause the tree branches to crack. From the impact of the tree falling, your shingles could be damaged, other roofing materials could be impacted, or even a hole could be punctured in your roof. To prevent any of this type of damage, be sure to have these tree limbs removed before winter.

Be Aware of Ice Dams

During the winter, ice dams can form on your roof. Ice dams occur when there is a large build-up of snow on top of your roof which starts to melt throughout the day from heat within the home escaping but refreezes overnight. Once this happens several days in a row, the water can start to penetrate its way underneath your shingles. Once the water is underneath your shingles, it can make its way into your attic to create water damage.

There are several ways to prevent ice dams:

- Keep your roof clear of any debris.

- Utilize roof rakes to get snow off of your roof to prevent a build-up.

- Clear your gutters of snow and ice.

- Ensure you have proper roof ventilation and insulation to have proper airflow and prevent heat loss.

Check Your Roof After Storms

If you live in an area where there is not much snow or ice, you may still have harsh winter storms with strong winds or hail. After storms occur, be sure to walk around your house and look at both your roof and gutter system to check for any storm damage. Strong winds could lift up shingles, leaving your roof decking exposed. Ensure there is no debris sitting in your gutters that causes them to clog and not work properly. Check for any tree branches that may have landed on your roof and could have caused damage from the impact. The earlier you catch damage, the earlier you can have it resolved and prevent extensive water damage.

Have an Inspection Done By a Roofing Contractor

Before winter comes, you should have a comprehensive inspection done of your roof to ensure that there are not any problem areas on your roof that could lead to damage. During the roof inspection, the contractor should take a look at:

- The framework to check for any signs of sagging.

- The roof valleys since they are prone to leaks.

- All of the shingles to check for any cracks, buckling, missing granules, curling, or missing shingles.

- The flashing for any cracks or damage.

The only way to prevent extensive and expensive water damage from happening to your home is by being proactive with roof inspections. The earlier you find a problem, the quicker it can be solved.

To ensure your roof is prepared for winter and its cold weather, have a qualified roofing contractor perform an inspection to identify any possible problem areas. ARAC Roof It Forward offers a free video roof inspection so we can show you videos and photos of any damage on your roof from the inside of your home. Our goal at Roof It Forward is to provide our community with high-quality roofing solutions to keep you and your family safe in your home. Schedule your free video inspection today!


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