Before a minor roof problem becomes a major wintertime disaster, follow this who, what and why of preparing your roof for winter.
While you can identify many of the common problems with your roof on your own, hiring a qualified roofing contractor is best to receive a complete check of the roof on your home or business and provide any necessary roof repairs.
You too can identify some signs that your roof needs repair. Check the areas around your home’s chimney and roof edges for loose materials, cracks and other signs of deterioration. Look for cracked shingles, inspect around skylights and be sure that your gutters are free of debris.
If you know of existing leaks coming from your roof, skylight or chimney, get them looked at and repaired immediately. These issues are easier to address when the weather is mild.
Removing debris from your gutters can drastically reduce ice dams.
While cleaning your gutters, keep your eyes peeled for shingle granules. Shingle granules look like coarse sand and may indicate that the tiles themselves are at the end of their lives.
Just as important as the gutters being free of debris, drains and downspouts should also be clear. Ensure that vents in your kitchen and bathroom actually go outdoors and don’t just vent into your roof space. The result will be dampness where it doesn’t belong.
Is your chimney in good shape? Leaning, cracking or missing chunks of mortar are red flags. Are there any broken or cracked tiles? Check your roof line and make sure it isn’t sagging or bending.
A flat roof is equally prone to damage and has less life span than a pitched roof. This is because water tends to sit on top rather than drain away. If the flat roof has been installed within the last five to ten years, it is typically sturdier and longer-lasting because of better building materials and methods. Small problems may be hard to spot but will cause a major headache if missed.
Monitoring your roof from the indoors is just as critical. Check your attic or roof space for areas that are sagging. Look for water damage and leaks. Dark spots and drips are typically dead giveaways that you have a roof leak. See if there is any light showing through from the outside. Check your joists for woodworm, dampness, fungus and rot.
Winter weather brings multiple stress factors to any roof system. Snow accumulation, ice dams and high winds can cause major damage to homes and buildings. Lower-quality roofs and roofs over 20 years old have a greater likelihood of succumbing to harsh weather. This can result in minor leaks to major cave-ins that can cost thousands to repair.
Courtesy of Roofing About.com