Preparing Your Roof for Winter

Posted on: 24 October 2016


Typically, the colder months are especially hard on your roof and can cause serious damage that leads to costly repairs. Accumulated snow and ice dams can cause damage to your shingles, result in leaks, and even weaken the structural integrity of your roof.

Luckily, there are some preventative steps you can take to prepare your roof for the chilly weather and reduce the damage sustained during winter. Read on to learn what you can do to winterize your roof and hopefully prolong its lifespan. 

Inspect and clean the rooftop and gutters

Winterizing your roof should start with a thorough cleaning of the rooftop to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris on the surface that could trap snow or prevent water from draining off the shingles. Debris on the rooftop could also be pushed down to the gutters, resulting in clogging issues.

It is best to perform the cleaning with a long push broom in mid-to-late fall so the rooftop is relatively clean when the snow starts falling. Next, clean out the gutters with a pressure washer to remove debris and ensure that roof drainage isn't compromised during winter. Clean-flowing gutters can also help reduce ice build-up and stress to the roof supports. If you live in an area that experiences severe snow fall, you may need to call in a roofer to install heating cables along your gutters so as to prevent the formation of ice dams. 

Additionally, you should inspect the roof for damaged or missing shingles that could leave your roof prone to leaks and replace corroded fasteners or damaged flashing, especially on the edges of the roof and around the chimney. Finally, consider trimming branches overhanging the roof to prevent wind damage to the shingles, gutters, and eave boards or the accumulation of leaves and twigs on the roof during winter. 

Repair the insulation

Your next focus after performing an outdoor inspection of the roof is to examine the state of your roof insulation. If compromised, the insulation can lead to a weakened roof that is prone to leaks and heat loss during winter, and that could lead to excessive ice damming and outrageous heating bills. 

Head to the attic and inspect the ceiling for water stains that essentially point to damaged insulation above. Next, call in a roofer to remove shingles above the damaged areas and replace the insulation. The roofer can also locate and plug any gaps on the shingles that could cause leaks that could damage the insulation.