Having your roof fail in the winter can be scary and inconvenient. With snow on the roof, leaks can perpetuate for days as the snow melts, and it's a lot harder for a roofing company to make it onto your roof when it's icy and 20 degrees outside! When it comes to winter roofing issues, you are far better off taking a preventative approach to roofing maintenance than just sitting there and hoping that nothing bad happens. Here's how.
Take care of your trees
One of the most common issues with roofing in the winter is having tree limbs fall on the roof after they become weighed down by snow or are snapped in a harsh storm. Have a tree care company come trim your trees back—especially the trees that are overhanging or near your roof. If there are any tree branches actually touching your roof, these definitely need to be removed. They may just be sweeping the roof now, but once they are weighed down by ice, they will fully rest on the roof, which could cause substantial shingle damage in the course of one winter.
Clean out your gutters
Your gutters are designed to keep your roof from accumulating too much ice in the winter. If ice does form on your roof, it can wedge itself under your shingles. Then, when the ice melts, the shingles will be left loose, and you may end up with leaks. Clean your gutters once in the middle of fall after the leaves have begun to fall, and then again at the end of fall when the trees are bare. After lifting all of the debris out of the gutter, make sure you rinse the gutter to ensure it's flowing freely. If your gutters frequently get clogged, consider installing gutter guards to keep them clear.
Nail down any loose shingles
Shingles that are a little loose now may go missing completely by the time winter is over. As long as you feel safe climbing on your roof, you can fix this issue yourself. Take a few roofing nails and drive them through the flapping end of the shingle. Keep pounding until the head of the nail is completely flush with the shingle. Then, place a glob of rubber cement over the end of each roofing nail. (Do not skip this step, or water will trickle in around the nail head.)
If you notice that you have a lot of loose or missing shingles, you may want to have a roofing company come evaluate the situation. Replacing a roof is a big job, but if your roof is damaged enough to warrant replacement, it's best to do it now rather than in the dead of winter.
Check for leaks in the attic
Sometimes, a roof may start leaking even when all of the shingles appear to be in good shape. Leaks may appear around exposed nail heads or the edge of flashing. Wait until after a substantial rain, and then go into your attic. If you see any puddles of moisture, you have a leak—and you'd be best off having a roof company come patch it if before winter rolls in. Make sure you also replace any attic insulation that became wet due to the leak. Wet insulation will develop mold, and it won't do a good job of keeping your home warm in the winter months.
Roof problems are never fun to deal with, but they're even more of a burden during winter. Complete these preventative maintenance tasks, and if you have any questions or concerns, get in touch with a local roofing company.