3 Tips For Winterizing Your Roof

During the winter, your roof is the part of your home that is most susceptible to damage. There are several steps that any homeowner can take to prepare their roof for winter. Here are three tips for winterizing your roof.

Keep Your Attic Cool

The cycle of snow melting and freezing on top of your roof is one of the most damaging aspects of winter weather. This effect will occur more frequently and at a faster pace if there is a significant temperature difference between your attic and the outside air. Because of this, you should strive to keep your attic cool during the winter to prevent ice dams on your roof and mold caused by snow that repeatedly melts.

Insulation and ventilation are the two key factors in regulating your attic's temperature during the winter. The primary source of excess warmth in your attic is heat that escapes into the attic from the living areas in your home. Sealing gaps around light fixtures and insulating the soffits around the edges of your attic floor will help to keep warmth out of the attic and in the parts of your home where it is needed.

Insulating your attic will allow you to ventilate it without the risk of losing warm air from the rest of your home. Leaving your attic vents open during the winter is the best way to keep it cool and prevent the cycle of snow freezing and thawing that can cause damage to your roof.

Maintain Gutters and Downspouts

Your gutters are at just as much risk of damage as the rest of your roof during the winter. Gutters and downspouts that contain leaves and other debris will not be able to drain water properly. Any water that is backed up in your gutters will freeze during the winter, putting significant weight on the gutters and potentially causing them to fall.

The easiest way to clean your gutters is by using a low-power pressure washer. You can spray directly into the downspouts to wash debris out of them. When spraying the gutters, be sure to spray them at an angle so that the direct water pressure doesn't pierce them.

Inspect Your Roof's Flashing

Your roof has several strips of aluminum or steel installed around chimneys, skylights, vents, and other roof penetrations. These strips are known as flashing and are designed to prevent leaks by covering gaps in the roof. When strips of flashing are loose or damaged, heavy snow can pull them away and allow water to leak through the roof. Even if you can't see a leak from inside your attic, water could be seeping under your roof's shingles and rotting the wooden frame.

Before the first snow of winter, all of the flashing on your roof should be inspected for cracks, loose sections, and rust. If you are comfortable performing the inspection yourself, you should be sure to wear a safety harness and have a helper with you at all times. In some cases, you may be able to resecure the flashing with roofing nails or cover small gaps with caulk.

Significantly rusted or damaged sections should be replaced with new flashing. Some homeowners prefer to hire a roofing contractor to inspect their flashing, as the contractor can perform any necessary repairs and has the training and experience to spot flashing gaps or damage that homeowners might miss.

Winterizing your roof is easy if you take a few simple preparatory steps before the snow starts. Keep these tips in mind to prevent damage to your roof this winter and avoid costly repairs in the future. For more information, contact a roofing company like Pro-Tech Contracting Inc.