Winter may be a pleasant reminder of the holidays, but it’s also a headache for both commercial and residential property owners to deal with. You have to deal with high energy bills because your heater is working overtime. There’s also the threat of pipes bursting when water freezes in them. The most significant issues you may have to deal with, however, are related to your roof.
After all, it provides cover against snowfall. Plus, it also offers insulation, which keeps your home toasty during the winter months.As durable as your roof may be, it can still run into problems during winter. This is especially true for homes in colder areas of the country.
Some common roofing problems during this season include:
- Leaks – Extreme weather and pressure from people stepping on the roof can create holes on the roof. Broken or improperly-installed flashings may also leave gaps and pull away due to strong winds. These leave openings for melted snow to leak through.
- Condensation – Moisture can enter your home even if there aren’t any leaks. It can do so through condensation. This happens when the attic of your home or place of business isn’t properly insulated and ventilated. This can cause mildew and possibly disease-causing mold to form on your walls and ceilings.
- Ice dams – These are icy ridges that form on the edge of your roof and prevents melted snow from draining off. With nowhere to go, the water ends up leaking through the gaps on the roof. These form because of uneven temperatures on your roof.
- Snow build up and fallen branches – If snow is left to accumulate on the roof for weeks, it can put too much pressure on the surface. It could cause the roof to collapse and compromise the safety of everyone inside the property. Tree branches may also break under the pressure of snow buildup. This is especially dangerous if the branches are hanging over the home’s roof.
- Strong Winds – The winter can sometimes bring on snowstorms, which carry high-velocity winds. These can cause improperly-installed or poorly-maintained roofs to peel off.
How to Take Care of Your Roof
Your roof is your first line of defense against the harsh cold of winter. As such, you need to take care of it throughout the cold season.
Here are different ways to keep your roof perfectly maintained.
- Get rid of debris – You should ensure that your roof is clean before snowfall. Moisture can cling onto the loose branches and leaves on your roof, causing them to rot and propagate mold. They also add weight to the surface of your roof, making snow build up even more dangerous.
- Inspect and repair flashing – Roof flashings are thin materials sourced from steel sheet producers. They can also be made of galvanized sheeting. Professional roofers use them to direct water away from areas where a roof plane meets another surface, like walls, skylights or chimneys. If installed or maintained poorly, these materials may leave gaps for water and air to enter. Inspect each flashing to make sure they have a snug fit and appropriately cover the space they’re attached to. If they’re bending off or completely rusted, you may need to get them repaired by a roofing contractor.
- Clear Your Roof and Gutters of Snow – Your roof and gutter should be strong enough to hold a few days of snowfall. However, you shouldn’t let them bear all that weight all-season-long. Apart from the roof possibly collapsing, your gutters may also tear away from the structure. That’s one more repair bill you have to consider. Make sure to clear them of snow regularly. Make sure to get rid of ice dams as well to ensure that melted snow can freely drain away from your property.
- Keep your attic properly insulated and ventilated – Ice dams form because of inconsistent temperatures on your roof’s surface. This is due to poor insulation and ventilation in your attic. Warm air may escape your roof, causing snow at the top to melt, while the ones at the lower side of your roof stay solid. Keep temperatures constant by adding insulation in your attic. These keep warm air in and cool air out. Some insulation materials also act as sealants, eliminating air leaks.
Winter tests the durability and reliability of your home’s structure, with the roof bearing the brunt of the abuse. With cold air and snow still expected for the next month or so, you need to learn how to take care of your roof before it develops damage that’s difficult and expensive to repair. Simple maintenance tasks, like cleaning, repairing flashing and installing insulation ensure your roof stays durable all-season-long.