Because it is a city far from any large bodies of water or mountains that can help moderate its temperature, St. Louis is no stranger to extreme weather events like tornadoes, snowstorms, and hailstorms.
And it looks like we’re in for more harsh weather this winter and even after. Winter forecasts say the city will experience below-normal temperatures and plenty of precipitation from mid-December to January. On the flip side, April to May next year will be warmer than usual.
So it looks like we have our work cut out for us in preparing for these extreme weather changes. And there’s no better place to start than your roof. If you want to protect your roof from ice dams and heavy snow loads (and what homeowner wouldn’t?), follow this checklist:
Step 1: Get rid of overhanging branches.
Branches that hang directly over your roof may fall due to high winds or heavy snow loads during a winter storm. Mishaps like this can cause extensive and expensive damage. Cut off all overhanging branches well before the onset of inclement weather.
Step 2: Clean roof surface and gutters.
Dirt and debris in your gutters and on the roof surface can increase the risk of clogged gutters, water damage, and ice dam formation. It may be a good idea to invest in a gutter protection system to minimize, if not completely eliminate, the need for gutter cleaning. As for your roof, you can use a telescoping roof rake. It’s a specialized tool, but the $20 you spend on it will save you the trouble of having to climb up a ladder a few times each year.
Step 3: Check for signs of pest infestation.
Here’s another good reason to muck out your gutters: small animals and insects may hole up in them. Moist and rotting leaves tend to be insect magnets, but even gutters that are free of debris can attract birds and bees looking for a place to build their nests and hives.
Step 4: Make sure roof vents and insulation are in working order.
The best way to head off ice dam formation is to check that your roof vents and attic insulation are in good shape. You want to keep the temperature of your roof surface cold to keep accumulated snow from melting and refreezing at your eaves.
Step 5: Check for existing roof damage.
Even minor damage can quickly take a turn for the worse during a winter storm. Keep an eye out for shingle curling or splitting, wood rot, and other signs of damage. If something needs fixing or replacing, now is the time to do it.
What comes next?
Protecting your St. Louis home from the elements doesn’t end with the end of winter. Year-round maintenance and checkups after every extreme weather event are both important. For best results, we recommend putting together a foolproof maintenance plan with the help of a trusted local contractor.
Lisa Sanning is a passionate home improvement contractor and the co-owner of Xterior Pro. She loves writing blogs to share what she’s experienced, her knowledge on home improvement, and everything in between. Outside work, she is a loving wife and mother to three kids.