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During the cold winter months, your roof should protect and insulate your home. Starting in the fall, you should have a plan for protecting your roof and gutters from damage. Is your roof and gutters ready for winter?
To prepare for the seasonal change, you should clear debris and any damage from the fall to keep your home warm and safe during the winter. Cleaning and inspecting your roof at least twice a year once in the spring and once in the fall could also help you maintain your roof’s warranty. Prepare your roof for winter with these 10 winter roofing tips.
1. Prune and Remove Hanging Branches
While trees can add protection from sunlight during the summer, they can damage your roof in the winter during heavy storms. Branches can scratch shingles and dent your roof on impact. Trees with needles, leaves or fruit can drop debris onto your roof and cause mold and mildew buildup.
Before pruning or removing hanging branches from your trees, you might want to consult an arborist. A professional in the tree industry knows your local area’s regulations for tree cutting and will help you protect your home.
2. Remove Built-Up Debris and Leaves
Your roof and gutters may collect leaves, dirt and debris over time. Since this debris holds moisture, the dirt and leaves on your roof could clog your gutters and grow mold on your roof. Cleaning debris from your roof encourages healthy water drainage and protects the structural integrity of your roof. In the fall, you may want to prepare for debris buildup by installing gutter Bulldog gutter guards.
You should clean your roof at least twice a year as a preventative measure. Use heavy gloves when picking up moist debris on your roof or gutters. For extra help, a professional roofer knows what to do in the winter to check for structural damage and assess if the roof needs to be repaired or replaced.
Your may want to consider what type of roofing shingles, flat or TPO flat roof materials you have before you start cleaning the dirt off of the top of your home:
Asphalt shingle: Asphalt shingle is typically low maintenance. Consider investing in algae-resistant shingles if you live in a damp area. To clean your shingles, use products free of bleach and ammonia. Use a bristle brush instead of power washing.
Cedar shake and shingles: Since this is a type of wood shingle, make sure you use cleaners free of ammonia and bleach. Keep tree branches and twigs off of your roof and please try not to use a pressure washer.
Slate shingle: Use cleaners free of ammonia and bleach. Since this type of roof is very delicate, you should use a brush to clean it instead of a pressure washer or a garden hose.
Metal: Use caution when treating your metal roof. Metal can corrode when it interacts with certain chemicals.
3. Inspect Your Roof Edges or rotted roof decking
In the winter, your roof’s edges could have structural damage from ice dams that form in the cold. Install the proper ventilation system to protect your roof’s edge from damage due to the cold weather. Also check your roof’s edges for drip edge movement or any changes in pitch to figure out if you need new flashing.
Flashing is a metal fixture that wraps around the edges of your roof. To determine if you need to install flashing, look for any changes in elevation, from shallow to steep or a convex or concave shape on your roof’s edges. If you see any abnormal shape in your roof’s edges, you may need to install flashing to fix any future problems.
Flashing can also prevent wood decay and leaking around your roof’s edge. If you already have flashing, you may need to replace or reseal any flashing with openings or dents at all edges and rakes. You should inspect the flashing on your roof at least once a year.
4. Clean Your Gutters & Down spouts
Your home’s gutters protect your home from water damage. Gutters control the flow of water during a storm to keep water away from the foundation of your home. As the temperature drops, water could turn to ice and could form icicles around your property if your gutters are clogged, please inspect down spouts as well.
During the fall, leaves can accumulate in your gutters. An overflow of water and snow could result in damage to the roof, the siding and the trim of your home. Your gutters could even fall off if they collect too much water or snow.
If you start cleaning in the fall, you will save more time in the winter. You can install gutter guards and screens to prevent leaves from infiltrating your gutters. Cleaning your gutters and water drains will help you keep your roof cleaner overall.
In addition to essential tools like rubber gloves and a gutter scoop, you may want to buy some gutter spikes, a gutter sealant and rivets in case your gutters need to be replaced or fixed . Ask someone to hold your ladder as you stand on, in case you fall. Clean from one side of your gutters to the other, scooping out the debris into a trash bag or a bucket
When you finish cleaning, check your gutters for holes. Any damaged parts of your gutters need to be replaced and sealed with a bead silicon sealant. You or a professional roofing contractor should clean and inspect your gutters at least once a year, but we recommend cleaning your gutters more often if you live in a damp area or have trees overhanging your roof.
5. Examine Your Shingles
After you clean your roof, you will have a good visual of the condition of your roof. While you are on top of your house, inspect your roof for any cracks, breaks or damage in your shingles. You should especially check areas of your roof that are more vulnerable to leaks, such as your chimney, skylights, roof vents or ridge vents. .
If you notice any cracks or moisture damage, you will have to replace the shingles or the whole roof itself. During the fall, have a professional company come in and inspect your roof for you before the winter snow and windy weather begins. They can assess the damage and even replace broken parts of your roof.
We recommend inspecting your shingles twice a year. Keep a record of all roof inspections done to protect the warranty on your roof. You may need a new roof if your roof is at least 16 years old or if your shingles are broken, cracks or missing.
6. Ensure No Animals Are Present
When you have any damage in your roof, you may be unknowingly inviting wild animals into your home. You may have animals in your roof or attic if you hear scratching or rustling in your walls. Regularly check your roof for animals to prevent the animals from reproducing and multiplying in your living space or attics.
Before sealing anything on your roof, inspect for birds nests and animals scurrying around your attic. You could accidentally seal an animal into your roof if you do not inspect your roof for animals first.
Make sure that you regularly maintain the trees in your yard to prevent wild animals from climbing onto your roof. You should cover your outside trash to keep unwanted pests from exploring your yard. Clean your gutters often and inspect for animals hiding in your cozy chimney during the cold winter months.
Since animals can crawl into the spaces in your roof, you may find them in your attic as well. If you hear rustling coming from the upstairs, check your attic for wild animals and nests. Please Hire a professional company if you are not comfortable with dealing with animals yourself.
7. Review Important Homeowner Information
Whether you have a warranty on your roof or your homeowner’s insurance covers damage done to your roof from weather or other factors beyond your control, you should be aware of what is covered before any damage happens on your roof tiles this winter.
Most shingled roofs have a warranty for an average of 35 years. If you have any repairs or inspections done on your roof, make sure you keep a file of your roof’s maintenance to protect your roof’s warranty. Your warranty may require regular cleaning of your roofing shingles, or else your warranty could be voided.
Your homeowner’s insurance may also cover any damage done to your roof. Your roof protects your home from leaks and interior damage, so insurance companies will place a high value on your roof. If you have any older roof, more than 20 years old you may have to replace your roof before you apply for a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Typically, insurance companies cover roof damages caused by fire, vandalism and weather incidents like tornadoes., hail storms etc.
You are responsible for routine roofing improvement projects, so insurance companies only cover incidents that occurred beyond your control. Your insurance company may cover leaky roofs if you provide evidence that your roof has been properly maintained.
8. Inspect Your Attic
If your roof has any cracks or leaks, the first place in the interior of your home to see any damage is your attic. Inspect your attic by checking for moisture damage and leaks in the walls. Hire a professional to walk through your attic and inspect for specific signs of moisture damage.
Consider adding attic ventilation to your home. The proper attic ventilation structure can reduce snow and ice accumulation on your roof and can allow air to flow freely in the attic. You could save money in your electric bills, by keeping your attic at the proper temperature.
Walk through your attic with a flashlight and look for rays of sunshine, wet insulation or stains on the wall. If you have any abnormal light or water in your attic, you may need to replace your roof. Checking your attic in the fall can help you avoid the hassle of replacing a roof in the winter.
9. Check Your Roof Valleys
Roof valleys are the low spots on your roof where two sloped sections meet. Sometimes they are covered with V-shaped strips of metal or shingles. The valleys of your roof can experience leaks, please take extra care to clear any debris that has accumulated in the valleys of your roof and inspect for wear and tear or shingle cracks.
If your roof valleys are made of metal, they can rust or corrode over time when they come in contact with debris. All valleys trap leaves that hold moisture and can grow mold. Repairing roof valleys is relatively common, so you could consider a patch repair if you have an excess amount of rust or corrosion on the metal valley.
As you inspect your roof valleys, check for holes to protect your home from leaking. You can cover small holes with patches of cement while larger holes will need professional repair. After inspection, clean your roof valleys with a wire brush.
10. Hire a Professional
A professional Roofing Contractors understands the technicalities of a roof warranty and what types of damage insurance companies cover. Professional roofers have experience dealing with rodents in the home or building office, so they will know what to look for and can remove these unwanted guests. They will also know how to inspect the interior and exterior of the home to determine the structural integrity of the roof.
Hiring a professional contractor is the ideal way to prepare your roof for the winter. HF Roofing has served the DMV area by improving and remodeling homes. We will inspect, install and repair your roofs to protect your home during those cold winter months.
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Licence #'s MHIC #105105
Washington, DC #410515000115