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Ensuring Your Roof is Ready for the Season

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Ensuring your roof is ready for the season is critical, especially if you live in an area with harsh winter weather – and even more critical if your roof isn’t in top condition. Before a minor roof problem becomes a major wintertime disaster, follow this who, what and why of preparing your roof for winter.

Preparing for Winter

You too can identify some signs that your roof needs repair. Check the areas around your home’s chimney and roof edges for loose materials, cracks and other signs of deterioration. Look for cracked shingles, inspect around skylights and be sure that your gutters are free of debris.

If you know of existing leaks coming from your roof, skylight or chimney, get them looked at and repaired immediately. These issues are easier to address when the weather is mild.

While cleaning your gutters, keep your eyes peeled for shingle granules. They are a clear sign of serious wear and tear. Shingle granules look like coarse sand and may indicate that the tiles themselves are at the end of their lives.

During the Winter

Ice dams form when snow sits on the roof for a period of time and goes through a melt and freeze sequence.

As the snow melts, water travels downward and then freezes when it reaches the eaves. If the roof is not properly vented and heat escapes through the shingles, it will start to melt the snow. When this sequence of melting and freezing happens over and over, the ice builds up and forms a dam at the edge. The best way to prevent an ice dam is to keep gutters clean and cautiously rake the snow from the edge of the roof off.

Winter weather brings multiple stressors to any roof system. Snow accumulation, ice dams and high winds can cause major damage to homes and buildings. Lower-quality roofs and roofs over 20 years old have a greater likelihood of succumbing to harsh weather. This can result in minor leaks to major cave-ins that can cost thousands to repair.

Your roof may not appear to be problematic before snowfall but weak spots, invisible cracks and weathered surfaces are all susceptible to giving way under the weight of snow.

Roofers tend to be at their busiest during winter and, due to extreme temperatures and snow removal, it takes longer to get jobs done during this season. There is great value in early inspection.