3 Ways To Prepare Your Roof For The Winter

Winter weather conditions can be harsh, and it's important to make sure that your roof is prepared to handle the elements. Beyond just making sure there are no leaks that might let in rain or snow, it's vital to check on your roof's integrity to make sure the weight of winter elements won't cause any damage, and also to make sure that your roof won't let out plenty of heat, which can drive up your heating bill and make your home harder to keep warm. Here are three things you should have inspected to make sure your roof is winter ready.

1. Roof Integrity

Your roof is responsible for carrying a lot of weight on a good day, and elements like snow or heavy rains can add to this. Because your roof's structure is so vital to the rest of your house, it's a good idea to make sure the structure isn't weakening anywhere. This weakening can often be visibly obvious in the form of sagging, but it might not always be immediately apparent, and is worth investigating from your attic.

On top of your roof, you can inspect it from different angles to look for any obvious signs of sagging. From the inside, check your trusses, rafters, and plates to make sure nothing is coming apart. In wood, you may see splintering or warping, and metal plates may be bent. Some movement in your roof is natural due to expansions and contractions due to heat, but make sure there are no signs of actual damage or weakness.

2. Condition of Roofing Material

Even if your roof is only a few years old, it's worth an inspection to make sure everything looks fine. There are multiple things to look for, such as any missing shingles or damaged or dented pieces of metal -- depending on what type of material you use -- to the condition of your eaves and flashing around chimneys. 

This is where a detailed inspection can come in handy; while some issues, like missing shingles or damaged metal is obvious, other issues, like worn sealant under your shingles or gaps in your flashing, are not as distinct. It's especially important to look for issues near any vents, chimneys, and skylights, as this requires extra material and sealing to keep water out, and where leaks can occur much more frequently.

This type of inspection is best done by a professional who will know what warning signs to look for and how best to take care of any issues.

3. Condition of Drain Pipes and Gutters

During dry months, especially during fall, plenty of dirt, leaves, and other debris can accumulate in your gutters and drain pipes. When winter rolls around and water needs to drain from your roof, it's vital that your gutters are able to convey that water elsewhere to avoid weighing down your roof. 

Water weight is heavy, and if left long enough, can pull down or damage your gutters and drains, which can, in turn, damage your roof. It couldn't hurt to also test your gutter's drains to make sure they divert water properly, and that they aren't leaking; if water is leaking from your gutters, it could cause water damage to the places your gutters are meant to protect.

For more information, contact your local roofing contractors.