With winter approaching, now is a good time to get your home's roof ready for winter storms and ice. It is a good idea to keep your roof in good repair and ready to prevent off ice dam formation, which can cause leaks that can saturate your home's interior and increase your risk of mold and mildew growth. Here are some steps and tips you can take to clean and repair your roof to get it ready for winter.
Clean Your Roof and Gutters
Safely get upon your roof during dry weather to clean any debris from the surface of your roof. Use a broom to sweep downward on your roof to remove any twigs, leaves, and other debris that may have collected upon your roof. If you leave such debris on your roof during winter, it can collect moisture and cause your shingles to become damaged. Remove any large branches from your rooftop to prevent them from scratching and damaging at your shingles.
Next, it is recommended to clean out your gutters so they can allow water runoff from your roof and prevent debris from backing upon your roof and causing damage. Leaves, dirt, and other debris can collect on the bottom of your gutters and can cause blockages. If you have any number of trees in your yard, especially pine trees, you may need to clean out your gutters more than once each year. Use a pressure washer or your garden hose and a hand nozzle attachment to spray the debris from the gutters, or scrape them with a trowel or your glove-protected hands.
Repair Roof and Gutter Damage
Inspect your rooftop for any cracked, broken, missing, or otherwise damaged shingles and replace the shingles, as needed, with any extra shingles you have on hand. You can order a matching box of shingles from most home improvement or roofing stores if you don't have any extras. You can also hire a professional roofer or contractor to replace the damaged shingles.
Next, spray water down your roof with your garden hose and watch the water as it drains from your roof into the gutters and down the downspouts. Watch for any gutter and downspout leaks from connections, corners, and edges. Check to make sure the gutters are not sagging in any area, allowing water to spill over their edges. Your local roofing professional can also repair any holes, cracks, leaks, and sagging in your gutters and downspouts.
Prevent Ice Dams
In preparation for winter, you should take some steps to prevent roof ice dams if you live in a northern climate. Ice dams can occur when your roof becomes warmed from heat seeping through your attic space to melt snow on your roof. The snow then, melt runs down your roof to refreeze at your roof's cold edge, building a layer of ice. Each time this occurs, the ice can grow thicker and thicker, lifting up shingles as it grow around and beneath them.
First, you can install a heating cable at the edges of your roof, which can be turned on and off from your home to melt any ice formation. The heating cables should be attached to your roof's edge in a zig-zag pattern and should be connected to a proper electrical outlet switch. If the heating cables are connected to a constant flow of electricity that cannot be switched on and off as needed, they can burn out and cause damage to your shingles.
You can also check and update your attic ventilation if it is not sufficient. Keeping your attic ventilated can help any warm air inside your attic flow outside to keep the attic cool and prevent warming of your roof. It is recommended to have at least one square foot of ventilation space for every 150 square feet of attic space. Talk to a roofing specialist to have this inspected and updated if your ventilation is not adequate.