“Cold temperatures and snow are now regularly in the forecast, so it’s increasingly important to winterize your roof for the season ahead,” said Lance Dahl, CR, Senior Sales Representative – Exterior Products with Callen Construction. “Inclement weather is capable of compromising the structural integrity of a roof, but if homeowners take the necessary proactive measures, they will help ensure that their roof remains safe and secure throughout the winter season.” The measures homeowners should follow includes trimming tree limbs, inspecting the roof and gutters, looking inside the attic, and assessing ceilings for any possible damage.
Snow, especially wet snow, that accumulates on trees near your home can be hazardous as the excess weight can cause the branches to bend and snap. So, any tree limbs that hang over your roof could have a negative impact on your home. “That is why it’s vital to trim any tree branches that extend over your roof now to ensure that they don’t cause any roof damage when a winter storm hits later,” Lance said.
Homeowners are also encouraged to conduct their own roof inspection. “Although some damage can be visible from ground level, it’s recommended to survey the roof from a ladder for a more thorough assessment, but only if you are capable and comfortable doing so,” he said. “If not, it’s advised to contact a professional.”
During a roof examination look for any roof damage or possible weak areas, such as holes in the roof; loose, damaged, or missing shingles; or loss of granules (if your roof is comprised of asphalt shingles). If you notice any of these roofing issues, it’s wise to address them prior to the first major snowfall.
While you’re up there, inspect the gutters too. “You’ll want to clear any debris from the gutters and downspouts in order to avoid a clogged gutter system and prevent ice dams from forming,” he said. “If blocked gutters are left unattended, the weight of the snow can cause them to sag and even tear away from the home. Not to mention, as the snow melts, the water will drain improperly, which can lead to mold and mildew, flooding, and even foundation damage.”
Lance suggests installing a gutter protection system to keep debris out of gutters, allowing them to flow freely. “At Callen, we install Gutter Topper, which improves water flow, discourages premature rust, protects the home’s structure, deters creatures from building nests, and mitigates the formation of ice dams,” he said.
The attic is directly correlated to a roof’s condition as this space can reveal possible roofing problems that may otherwise go initially undetected. “While in the attic, look for any damage, specifically water damage,” Lance said. “A simple task that will confirm the existence of any major leaks in your roof involves turning off all the lights in your attic during the daytime. If you can see any sun shining through, then you can conclude that your roof does in fact have a leak. Additionally, you’ll want to check the wood in your attic. A leak is likely present if you find cracking, splintering, or faded spots. Moreover, an attic needs to be well ventilated and properly insulated in order to avoid loss of heat and ice dams.”
Moving down from the attic, it’s suggested to scan your home’s ceilings as well. The presence of water stains is indicative of a leaky roof. Catching this early on can lessen the extent of the damage as well as the cost of repairs.
When tackling a home maintenance checklist this fall, make sure you treat your roof as a priority as it plays an integral role in your home’s exterior, especially during winter. “Not only does it shield you and your family from the elements, but it also helps maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. The earlier you spot roofing issues, the less damage they will cause, the sooner they can be fixed, and the more money you’ll save,” he said.