Northern Virginia is already in the depths of winter, and anyone who did not maintain their roof and get it ready for the season is wishing they had. Cold weather and snow are sneaking into unprepared homes, and costly leaks are beginning to form. It is not too late to prepare your roof for winter, however. Here is how it can be done.
Step 1: Inspections
First and foremost, inspect the roof. This should be done regularly all through the year. For a complete inspection, you will need to hire a professional. But throughout the year you can do a visual inspection and look for potential issues that are visible to you.
You should inspect the inside of your attic as well. You can look for water stains that would indicate the beginning of leaks, and you can see if there is enough insulation up there. Having your attic properly insulated and ventilated will go a long way in preventing ice dams. Ice dams are blocks of ice that trap water on your roof and cause leaks. They are formed from melt water that travels down the roof and freezes on the roof’s outer eaves. Preventing the dams will spare you water damage.
Step 2: Repair caulking
Sealant around the perimeter of the roof will need maintaining. Check to see if the old sealant is crumbling or falling out. If it is, you can replace the old caulking with fresh weather-proof caulking. This will keep hot air from escaping your house and it will prevent any cracks on the outside from growing.
Step 3: Take down branches
Once you are done with the sealant, you should check the trees near your house. Make sure branches from the trees aren’t looming over or touching your roof. A branch could come off in a storm and knock out shingles or dent flashings. Remember that a branch can look sturdy and still be ready to come off with the wind. Cut back any branches that hang near your house.
Step 4: Clean out and unclog gutters
Even without the tree, leaves, twigs and other bits of trash get on roofs to clog gutters. It is a good idea to clean your roof and gutters frequently before snow comes to cover all the debris. That way you have only small loads to move. You can get a sturdy roof rake to help you do the job. A roof rake will also help break up ice dams and remove heavy snow. Once the gutters are cleared, they will efficiently remove water from your roof. This will prevent your roof from rotting and developing leaks.
As you can see, it is pretty easy to prepare your roof for winter. It is a simple matter of keeping an eye out for potential problems and taking a few precautions. If you follow these steps, you can keep cold weather out of your house and avoid leaks.