03 Dec 3 Action Items to Protect your Roof before Winter Strikes!
Pretty soon Santa will be riding around the night sky and landing on roofs across the world. After Santa leaves, then winter will be in full swing and your roof will be alone with the cold and rainy weather.
There are a few main things you can do to help protect your home before winter hits. In addition to routine checks, which cannot be understated to prevent long term damage to any major home appliance, there are some simple weekend projects that homeowners can do before winter strikes.
Winter Roof Preparation
First, there are some quick checks that homeowners can do in a short time frame. These checks gage the risk your roof might face during the winter.
For example, check the general condition. In particular, look out for cracks, broken or blistered shingles and anything that looks out of the ordinary.
Second, find some time to clear your gutters and downspouts. As winter storms strike, the debris clogs the gutters. Additionally, consider adding extensions to your downspouts so the water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation.
Third, trim any trees around the house. In particular, cut back trees that could fall onto the house during a storm. Be sure to remove the debris and dead branches as well.
For homeowners with a flat roof or asphalt surface, clearing any fall leaves or pine needles are particularly important. Substances, such as leaves, tend to hold moisture. The leaves absorb the precipitation from winter storms. So, the extra weight adds up over the winter season and causes strain.
To summarize, take a look around your house for anything that could land on your home or prevent water from draining away from the roof or house foundation.
Protect Your Attic
The attic is extremely important to the overall condition of your roof because it is the interior conduit to the outside.
The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing Association explains why protection works. Any clogs in gutters or roof shingles force water under the roof. As a result, bad things could happen, such as:
[causing] the deck to swell, resulting in waviness and buckling of the deck and shingles, as well as damage to a building’s ceilings, walls, insulation or other structural components.
The good news is homeowners can take steps to prevent these issues and it starts with the attic.
First, ensure you have a well ventilated attic. Proper ventilation is needed because any water vapor that reaches the lower temperature under the roof will condense. Over time, the moisture will build-up and damage the roof deck, insulation and drywall. Proper ventilation keeps the attic temperature in sync with the outside temperature to prevent any moisture from building at the eaves of the roof.
If you are unsure about your attic ventilation, then consider a home energy checkup because it provides insight into how and where air is seeping out of your home.
Second, ensure your attic is insulated properly. Proper insulation prevents the interior (warm) air from entering the attic and reaching the roof deck. Proper insulation works with the ventilation system to keep the attic cold and in sync with the outside temperature.
Avoid Ice Dams At All Costs
Ice dams cause real (and expensive) damage to your roof. If you work diligently to protect your attic, then the main cause of ice dams will dissipate.
In the general Atlanta area, then there is a lower risk of ice dams because the typical winter temperatures are warmer than other areas of the country. The main risk of ice dams is snow that melts during the day and then freezes at night.
In addition to the external temperature changes, the heat rising through the attic and meeting the roof melts the snow or ice as well. As the water melts and attempts to run off the roof, if the gutters are clogged, then the leaves will absorb the water and freeze as the temperature drops.
For homeowners in Georgia, although there is a lower risk of ice dams, it is important to understand the causes because homes are likely not prepared to prevent the significant damage ice dams can cause.
In the event of a snowstorm, then remove snow from your roof. By using a standard roof rake and clearing about 3-4 feet of snow from the edge of the roof, then you should provide enough room for the water to melt and runoff.
For safety precautions, it is advisable to stay off your roof during freezing weather, but it is a good idea to check for any damage once the roof is cleared.
Keep in mind that the weight of the snow also matters, so any wet snowstorms may cause more harm.
Ultimately, nobody can control mother nature, but you can control your actions. Take the time to prevent possible damage and know what to look for when winter storms strike.