Summer’s come and gone and now fall is settling in which can only mean one thing. Winter is coming. In fact, it’s right around the corner and may even hit Central Ohio a little earlier than normal this year. This is the perfect time to wrap up those home improvement projects you started this summer and to make sure your home is ready for winter’s first freeze. Here are 4 steps to take in preparing your roof for this winter’s cold temperatures and bad weather.
Clear The Debris
First, make sure the surface of your roof is clear of leaves, branches, pine needles, sticks and other debris that may have landed up there throughout the year. Even the really small stuff. If it can retain moisture it has the potential to rot or mold. Which introduces the risk of your roofing materials breaking down resulting in leaks and other moisture related issues.
If it’s safe to do so and you’re comfortable getting up on your roof and walking around, you can use a broom or leaf blower to clear off any debris you find. Make sure to pay extra attention to your valleys. The valleys are most vulnerable to water damage, so you’ll want to make sure they’re clear so that water can flow off your roof the way it’s supposed to. If you need help doing this, contact your handyman or a company that specializes in gutter and roof cleaning near you.
Clean The Gutters
The downspouts attached to your gutter system can easily become clogged when leaves and other debris collect in the gutters. Rainwater has the potential of overflowing the gutters and damaging your roof, trim and siding when this happens. The additional strain put on your gutter system by the weight of wet leaves or debris could also cause unwanted damage, and in some cases, can cause entire sections of gutters to break and fall.
Preventing these issues and the repair costs associated with them is as easy as checking and cleaning your gutters at least once a year. It’s best to keep the gutters relatively clean through the end of fall and to do a thorough cleaning once all of the leaves have fallen. If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. You could also consider having gutter guards installed to prevent buildup from occurring in the first place.
Check For Signs Of Damage Or Wear
Once the roof has been cleaned off, inspect the surface of the slopes, peaks, and valleys for missing, misshapen or discolored shingles. Pay close attention to any shingles that have cracks, curls or worn edges. You may also find nails that have started to pop loose. Take note of anything questionable you may find so they can be properly addressed.
You should also check for damaged or missing flashing around chimneys, soil pipes, skylights, and vent stacks. These are the most common points of failure when you experience a roof leak. Roof flashings are some of the most critical components of your roof and can be difficult to repair or replace properly on your own, so always consult a local roofing expert when you suspect problems related to the flashings.
Check For Attic Insulation & Ventilation Issues
When air fails to flow up and out through your attic properly, energy bills can skyrocket and roof leaks can easily occur when snow or ice builds up on the surface of your roof. When sunlight hits your roof the temperature of the air in your attic will rise, and without proper ventilation at the soffits, ridges or gables of your roof, the hot air condensates, which in turn can cause water or moisture damage and can also present the risk of mold or rot. This hot air can also cause ice dams to form, which of course can easily lead to ice/snow buildup and expensive leaks.
Hotter air temperatures in the attic can also cause your living space to overheat, increasing AC utilization and energy costs. This is why a properly insulated attic is so critical to an energy efficient home.
Be on the lookout for these issues and make sure to contact a professional to help evaluate and correct any problems related to attic insulation and ventilation. Engineers and energy auditors are your best bet when looking for someone who can help properly address issues related to attic ventilation and energy efficiency.
And, of course, we’re here to help however we can. Even if that just means pointing you in the right direction. Give us a call at (614) 890-7663 anytime!