Winters can be so beautiful in our part of the country — and with outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, some of our favorite holidays to enjoy, and cozy evenings by a fire with our loved ones, there’s a lot to look forward to as winter approaches.
But along with winter’s pleasures, we can also expect very cold temperatures and heavy snow. So making sure that your roof is functioning well, so it can protect your family and your belongings, is incredibly important.
When you start seeing Halloween decorations in your neighborhood, it’s time to take these simple steps to prepare your roof for winter — so you can be sure it will withstand our sometimes ferocious weather and keep you safe and dry until spring.
1. Clear Your Gutters and Downspouts
Your gutters should be cleared every spring and autumn. Going into winter with clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, which can damage your roof and cause leaks. Before snow starts falling, you need to remove leaves and other debris from your gutters and downspouts so that melting snow can flow away from your roof (and your home’s foundation). Also make sure gutters are securely attached and have no signs of corrosion. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection when clearing your gutters! (Get more tips on cleaning gutters.)
2. Clean Your Roof
You also need to make sure that your roof is clean before it starts snowing — in autumn, tree litter can accumulate on your roof, and if you leave it there through winter, it can become waterlogged and lead to water damage and leaks. If you’re not comfortable going on your roof, please call in the pros (812-650-2475) — we’d be happy to help! And if you are going up there, always practice ladder safety!
3. Inspect Your Roof for Damage
The first thing to assess is your roof’s roofline. All the lines of your roof should be straight — that means no signs of sagging or curving (these signs can indicate that there are framing issues or rotting wood, which can lead to serious damage). Also look for missing or damaged shingles and rust (on metal roofing). These problems need to be addressed right away to prevent leaks. (Learn more about roof inspections.)
4. Check for Leaks in Your Attic (and Elsewhere)
Often, the first signs of a leaky roof can be seen in your attic, but they might appear anywhere in your home. Signs of a leak include water spots on walls, wet roof decking or beams, and any unexplained water in your attic. Even a small leak can turn into a big problem when a heavy snow pack begins melting on your roof, so if you see signs of water infiltrating your home, schedule a professional roof inspection right away.
5. Trim Overhanging Tree Branches
The weight of snow and ice can cause tree branches to break — and a branch falling on your roof can cause serious damage. You can prevent this by trimming any branches that are too close to your roof.
6. Make Sure Your Attic Is Properly Insulated and Ventilated
Insulation helps maintain a consistent indoor temperature and prevents warm air from escaping through your roof — which can cause damaging ice dams to form (as well as adding to your heating bill!). And just as important as insulation is ventilation: poor ventilation can lead to moisture, and that can lead to mold (a serious health hazard) and ice. (Learn more about the importance of good roof ventilation.)
7. Clean Your Chimney
Do you have a chimney? If so, have it professionally cleaned and inspected before winter sets in. Make sure that it’s free of obstructions that could lead to fire hazards or smoke and carbon monoxide entering your home. Check to make sure that your chimney flashing doesn’t seem to be loose, damaged, or deteriorating. (And when you’re looking in your attic for water damage, be sure to check near the chimney!)
8. Schedule a Professional Roof Inspection
Hiring a professional roofer to conduct a thorough inspection is one of the best steps you can take to prepare your roof for winter. We’re Amish Roofers, and we provide no-obligation inspections, as well as expert roof repair and replacement — we’re trusted throughout Southern Indiana, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about your roof. Get in touch today!