There are many things to look forward to in the winter, like building snowmen and enjoying warm nights by the fire sipping hot cocoa. But there are also a few things you should do to prepare your home—specifically, your roof—in order to have the best protection from the elements and prevent damage. Here is a 6-step checklist that covers just what you need to do.
Check Your Roof's Overall Condition
The first step in ensuring your roof is ready for Old Man Winter is to do a visual inspection of its condition. Check for loose or missing shingles, stains, ripples, signs of rot or mold, and anything that appears off.
Broken or loose shingles as well as rot and mold should be repaired right away. But if your roof is stained with black streaks, more than likely gloeocapsa magma is to blame. While this algae alone won't harm your roof, it can encourage the growth of lichens and moss, both of which can damage shingles. So it pays to have it professionally removed.
Inspect for Leaks
To check for a leaky roof, do a walk-through of your home, inspecting the ceiling for water stains. While it isn't 100 percent accurate, you can generally get an idea of where the leak originates by its location. Leaks that are in the corner or along the edges of your ceiling could be caused by an ice dam on your roof. If you notice the leak or water stain around the chimney, then you probably have an issue with the flashing.
You can also check for leaks from the attic in the same manner. The best time to do this is during or right after heavy rainfall. If you don't want to wait on the rain, you can spray your roof with a garden hose and check for leaks right away.
Check for Proper Ventilation
While you're in the attic, be sure you also have adequate ventilation that allows fresh, clean air into the space, pushing out moist, stale air. This is crucial in preventing the growth of mold and mildew, and it also helps to prevent the formation of ice dams on your roof. Ice dams prevent the snow from melting properly, ultimately causing leaks, so they're definitely something you want to prevent.
Signs that your attic isn't well ventilated include:
- the presence of mold and mildew without any leaks
- an overly hot attic during the summer
- a history of ice dams forming in the winter
The best way to improve ventilation is with rooftop turbines or ridge vents. Turbines look like fans, and they suck the hot, humid air out of your attic. Vents look more like a screen and simply allow the hot air to escape.
Clean the Gutters
Make sure your gutters are clean and clear of any debris before winter hits so that rain and melting snow can adequately drain from your home. You can test how well they're performing by running some water through them with your garden hose.
Also, be sure that any splash blocks at the base of the downspouts redirect water downhill away from your home. You don't want them aimed at a sidewalk or a driveway where the water could freeze and pose a hazard.
Clear Away Overhanging Branches
Any and all tree branches hanging over your roof should be trimmed as soon as possible. This will prevent winter snow and ice storms from sending those branches crashing onto your roof.
Install Snow Guards
If you live in an area that sees a lot of snow, this is one step you don't want to skip. When large amounts of snow accumulate on your roof, you could experience something called a roof avalanche. This can damage the roof, gutters, vents, and skylights as well as cause injury if anyone happens to be outside when it occurs.
Snow guards are small devices installed on the roof that allow the snow to drop off in stages, preventing an all-at-once avalanche from occurring.
Contact a company like Ratliff Enterprises if you have questions about your roof's integrity.