Fall has settled in, along with the wind and rain. This means your roof has already had a taste of what’s to come in the winter months. For many here in the Willamette Valley, where we are blessed with an abundance of trees, it also means your gutters and roof valleys are already collecting debris. As autumn is the precursor to winter, now is the time to winterize your roof.
Why Winterizing Your Roof Matters
No matter the age of your roof, it is a good idea to do a routine inspection each fall, before the heavy wind, rain, and ice storms come. Regular roof review and maintenance will ensure your roof is free of debris, shingles are intact, and all penetrations (chimneys, vents, etc.) are leak-free. This will help prolong the life of your roof and could save you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.
How to Winterize Your Roof in 5 Easy Steps
- Repair missing shingles. The only way to really know if you have missing shingles is to get up on your roof and take a look. Even if you have never seen evidence in your yard of roof debris after a storm, that doesn’t mean damage didn’t occur. It is a good idea to inspect your roof in the fall for any tears, or punctures and make any repairs before the heavy winds and rain of winter set in.
- Remove leaves and debris. Fir needles, leaves, and other debris collect in roof valleys, around skylights, chimneys, and vents, as well as gutters. If left unattended, these collection points become moisture traps and havens for pests that can also cause roof damage. Further, as debris piles up, it can create dams, diverting water under shingles and causing unnecessary leaks. The debris will also eventually find its way into your gutters. Besides overflowing during heavy rains, gutters that become too heavy with soaked leaves and other debris are at risk of pulling away from the roof.
If any large branches are growing over your roof, it is a good idea to cut them back. This will help prevent larger branches and debris from falling onto your roof.
- Inspect all roof penetrations. Skylights, chimneys, vents, and flashings are all potential leak points on a roof and should be inspected once a year to ensure all are properly sealed. Look for missing shingles around each area. Check pipe flashing boots for splits. Make sure there is adequate caulking around penetration points like chimney corners, as well as exposed nail heads along ridges, and the front edges of flashings and vents.
- Treat for moss. Moss holds water and if left to grow unchecked can become a heavy blanket on your roof. Moss is also a prime breeding ground for bacteria and mold and can lead to rot which will shorten the lifespan of your roof.
- Check for damage from pests. Nesting birds, rodents, and insects can all cause damage to a roof. Even minor damage can lead to major problems and expensive repairs. Addressing the issue through a method of pest control, even if it’s simply removing a nest, will help protect and extend the life of your roof.
6. Insulate your attic. This is an often overlooked area when it comes to inspecting and winterizing a roof. Attic insulation does more than regulate the temperature in your home. Proper insulation can also stop leaks by preventing heat transfer and slowing or stopping snow and ice from melting on your roof.
We know getting up on the roof is not something most homeowners relish, but an annual roof inspection is a necessary step to extending the life of your roof and protecting your home. Our experienced roof technicians offer complete roof inspection, maintenance, and repair services so you can remain safely on the ground. Give us a call today, before you discover a leak later in the season!
If you are determined to do your own inspection and repairs, here’s a pro-tip that could save your life: install permanent roof anchors! This is a service we offer and we would be happy to do this for you.