7 Reasons to Check Your Roof Before Winter

A properly functioning roof is vital to a healthy and comfortable home. While homeowners naturally think to check on the condition of their roof prior to rainy season (which is recommended), they should also take a peek before the cold weather hits.

Here are seven reasons why:

To Prevent Formation of Ice Dams

Ice dams form when snow melts on an upper, warmer part of a roof, then flows down to the lower and colder edges of the roof, where it refreezes. As the snow builds up, it traps more water behind it and prevents additional snowmelt from draining off the roof. This phenomenon not only puts undue weight on the roof but can also tear off gutters and loosen shingles — and allow meltwater to enter your home.

Since ice dams are caused by uneven heating on your roof, you’ll want to check on the health of your attic ventilation and insulation and make sure air leaks are sealed. When in doubt, get it professionally inspected.

To Reduce the Effects of Freeze and Thaw Cycles

Freeze-thaw cycles can create several problems for your roof. If there are small gaps between your shingles or your flashing is out of place, water can seep under the spaces. When the temperatures dip, the water will expand as it freezes, tearing your shingles from the roof.

Visually inspect your roof for cracked, damaged or missing shingles and repair accordingly.

To Promote Better Drainage 

Many homeowners associate leaks with the rainy summer months, but as we have seen, ice dams can cause roof leaks as well. These leaks provide an ideal environment for mold and mildew growth.

Along with patching shingles and flashing, you can prevent winter leaks by ensuring your roof is set up for proper drainage. Clean and adjust your gutters and downspouts, remove debris from the roof and keep an eye for signs of roof leaks like stains on walls and ceiling.

To Reduce Your Heating Bill

If your attic lacks sufficient insulation, it won’t block the heated air from rising through your ceilings and escaping through the attic. This puts more pressure on your heating systems to keep your home comfortable — burning more energy and increasing your bills.

Winterizing the space below your roof could help you save money. According to EnergyStar, the average homeowner can save 15% of heating and cooling costs by adding insulation in attics and crawl spaces.

To Prevent Roof Damage from Trees

When you have tall trees with overhanging branches, you increase the accumulation of debris in your gutters and roof. And tree limbs become heavy with ice and snow are prone to falling. Winter winds can easily knock the branches free, breaking shingles and even damaging your roof. 

Trimming trees around your house is an essential part of getting your roof winter-ready. If there are trees leaning over your house, consider cutting them down.

It’s Harder to Make Repairs in the Winter

Truth be told, winter isn’t the best time for roof repairs. Impossible? No –but if you are experiencing roof-related issues, snow accumulation could make it difficult to remedy them quickly and with quality.

It’s advised that you take care of any fixes while it’s warm and dry.

To Prevent Pest Infestation

When the nasty winter arrives, some pests invade our homes, seeking warmth, shelter, and food sources. Having rats, mice, or raccoons under your roof is both an annoyance and a health hazard (plus, they’ve been known to destroy insulation).

Partnering with a professional roofing contractor to winterize your roof can help block pathways that pests may use to access your homes. For instance, the experts can identify weak spots and plug the holes where roofing materials have not been installed correctly. If there are signs of an existing infestation, professionals will alert you, helping you take the necessary measures. 

When in Doubt, Get a Professional Inspection

Snow, ice, hail, and high winds have the power to inflict serious damage on your roofing system. Ultimately, a winter-ready roof will help you protect your home from leaks and water damage, avert expensive repairs, avoid rocketing energy bills, lock out pests, and enjoy a safe and comfortable home.

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