It’s important to prepare your roof for winter. Roof preparation for the harsh winter weather that’s looming on the horizon is an essential step you need to take for your home this season. Your roof provides the line of defense between your family and any harsh weather – it also contributes to your heating costs! With careful maintenance and proactive approaches to potential roofing issues, you can extend the longevity of your roof and safeguard it against severe damage. The following tips can help you ready your roof for the cold Charlotte winter ahead.
Common Winter Roofing Issues
Before we start, we want to discuss how winter weather can impact the health of your roofing system. Winter is a uniquely harsh season for your roof. Snow and ice, freeze and thaw cycles, and low temperatures can create multiple problems that could lead to costly roof repairs if your roof is not prepared. Having a plan of action to prepare your roof is essential.
When warm air meets a cold surface, condensation occurs. Unfortunately, an improperly insulated attic is a prime candidate for the formation of condensation. Condensation near your roofing system can lead to mold and mildew and damage the interior structure of your home. To prevent this, ensure your attic is adequately ventilated. Inadequate roof ventilation can damage the roof, the wood decking, increase the chances of ice dams, and shorten the overall lifespan of the roof system.
Wind storms are relatively common in our region. When wind speeds pick up, they can loosen and detach asphalt shingles or cause tree limbs to fall, damaging the shingles and wood decking. If you notice shingles or other pieces of your roofing system in your yard – contact a roofing expert to replace your damaged shingles before more damage (or snow) occurs.
Roof Flashing Leaks
One of the most common causes of roof leaks, in general, is from poorly installed or deteriorating flashing. Roof flashings are materials fitted around chimneys, roof-to-wall transitions, and penetrations around the roof to provide a waterproof seal against moisture. If your roof flashings aren’t installed correctly or deteriorated sufficiently due to the harsh winter conditions, they can pull away from the roofing system and allow water intrusion. You should check your roof flashing roughly every six months to prevent significant problems, but you should especially inspect them before the start of winter.
Icicles are typically formed by sunny days with subfreezing temperatures. Icicles are often a result of clogged gutters and downspouts, and they pose many issues to a roofing system. Their weight can cause gutters to pull away from your home. Although not common in Charlotte, Ice dams result when the upper areas of an icy roof begin to thaw, but the lower perimeters are still frozen. Melting ice and snow from the warmer section of the roof flow down and re-freeze on the lower areas and in your gutter system – creating an ice dam on your roof. As water pools behind these dams, it’s likely to make its way underneath your roofing shingles and cause water leaks.
Roof Inspection Checklist
Patch.com predicts a cold winter in Charlotte, NC, this year with more wintery precipitation than usual. Although Charlotte, NC, might not experience as heavy a snowfall as other parts of the country, we still experience freezing temperatures that can cause roofing issues like those mentioned above. Preparing your roof for winter might seem like a daunting task, but it’s necessary – we outlined areas you should look at below.
#1 – Clean Debris
If your roof and gutter system has leaves, twigs, branches, pine needles, or dirt covering its surface – make sure to clean those up as soon as possible. Debris can cause mold, fungus, or mildew to grow on the roofing membrane. Additionally, roof debris can cause granule loss on your shingles and clog your gutters. Remember, clogged gutters increase your chances of icicles and ice dams which can cause significant roofing issues if not appropriately addressed.
#2 – Assess the Framework
Having a professional roof assessment is just added insurance for your roof. Have an experienced roofing company inspect your roof’s framework each year. Address any signs of roof sagging before winter storms arrive. Local roofer companies can spot signs of trouble before they reach the point of leaking.
#3 – Check Flashing
As we mentioned earlier in this post, the area along the flashing is one of the most common spots for leaks. Spend extra time inspecting the flashing around your home, paying particular attention to around your chimney and skylights. Ensure that the flashings aren’t tearing away from the roofing system and that it’s still completely sealed.
#4 – Inspect Roof Valleys
Your roof valleys are another likely location for roof leaks to occur, especially in the winter, since they are where snow and ice typically build up. Keep valleys clear of any accumulated debris to reduce the amount of weight sitting in these areas.
#5 – Inspect Roof Shingles
Like flashing, shingles can loosen after a tough patch of weather. Any missing, cracked, or damaged shingles warrant prompt replacement. If there is any sign of granule loss or shingle curling, it’s a sign the shingle is suffering and should be replaced. A qualified roofing contractor can replace shingles and inform you about the overall condition of the remaining shingles on your roof.
#6 – Clean Gutters
Although this is mentioned briefly above, it’s important enough to deserve a checkmark – especially when it comes to preparing your roof for winter. Gutter cleaning isn’t the most fun winter chore, but it’s likely one of the most important. The primary purpose of gutters on a residential home is to direct water away from the roofing system, siding system, and your foundation. If your gutters are clogged, melt-off will not adequately drain away from your home. While you’re cleaning your gutters, make sure they’re securely attached to your home. It can influence how effectively water is pushed towards your downspouts if they’re falling away or sagging.
#7 – Replace Sealant
Your roof’s antennas, plumbing stacks, vents, and chimney need to have adequate sealing around the base. Sealant and roofing caulk will wear out over time, and it’s essential to check the integrity of your roof’s sealants to prevent any roof leaks.
#8 – Chimney Check
While you’re preparing your roof for winter, you should have your chimney cleaned. Additionally, have a roofer inspect to see if any chunks of brick or mortar are missing from your chimney – you’ll want to have this repaired immediately. Although not all roofers can tackle this type of service, they should be able to refer you to someone nearby who specializes in brickwork.
#9 – Check Attic and Insulation
Many homeowners forget to check their attic when performing a roof examination. You’ll want to ensure that your attic has plenty of evenly distributed insulation to keep the heat in your home. Not only do you want proper insulation to prevent heat from escaping your home, but any added heat coming from your roof in the winter will also increase the chance of ice dams. Check the insulation in the attic to ensure there are no wet or damaged areas, indicating that you already have a roof leak you should get addressed before the winter. Replace the insulation after you’ve repaired the roof.
#10 – Check out Signature Exterior’s $49 Roof Tune-Up
If you don’t have time to prepare your roof for winter in between holiday shopping, let the pros do it for you! Here’s the deal: $49 for roof maintenance which comes with a $100 credit toward future repairs.
Inspection by a roofing specialist, minor roof repairs that cause water infiltration, caulking exposed nail heads on flashing.
Maintenance of resealing around any pipe collars, exhaust fans/vents, and chimney flashing.
Photos taken of any additional repairs that may need maintenance.
Professional plan of action presented for any needed repairs.
Call us today at (704) 729-4898 to schedule.