If you have recently relocated to a cold climate and are looking forward to spending your first winter there, you are probably anticipating enjoying watching the snow fall from the comfort of a chair by the fire and other cozy seasonal activities. However, keep in mind that winter weather can wreak havoc on your roof, making it difficult to savor your warm indoor environment while cold weather rages outside, so be proactive about possible roof issues before temperatures plunge and the snow starts to fly. Following are three strategies for providing your roof with a head start on winter's ravages.
Visually Inspect Your Ceiling Thoroughly
Turning on the brightest lights you have and thoroughly inspecting your interior ceilings gives you a good idea about the condition of your roof. Look carefully for dark spots and other discolorations -- they're indicators that your roof is leaking. Sections of the roof may need to be replaced in order to prevent leaks from growing, and it is better to have this done before winter weather sets in in earnest. Also, keep an eye out for bulges in your ceiling because this could mean that there is water pooling in the drywall. It could also mean that a previous contractor installed drywall that is too thin for use in ceilings, which will definitely become a problem when seasonal precipitation begins. Many homeowners completely overlook the attic when making their inspection of the ceiling, but this is the most important place to look for signs of possible interior water damage.
Inspect the Roof's Exterior
The next step to ensuring that your roof is ready for winter is to perform a thorough inspection of the roof's exterior. This can be a difficult task for those who have sloped roofs, so you may be better off calling a skilled roofing professional for this chore. If you decide to do this yourself, be sure to have someone on the ground who can assist in the event of mishaps. The first thing you should do is to remove all vegetative debris from the surface of your roof so that you can have a clear view. Look for cracks, holes, loose or missing shingles, soft spots in the roofing materials, the flashing around chimneys, vents, and skylights, and patches of moss. Patches of moss may be signs of moisture buildup on your roof, particularly if they aren't located in areas that receive a great deal of shade.
Be sure to keep removing fallen leaves from your roof on a regular basis throughout the course of autumn. Piles of leaves on the roof that become wet as a result of fall rains or even heavy dew can cause damp conditions conducive to the development of mold and mildew. When allowed to remain, they can form a layer that traps moisture on the roof's surfaces, eventually causing roofing materials to rot. You can remove leaves and other unwanted debris on your roof by using a long-handled rake designed for this purpose.
Clean the Gutters
Many homeowners who do due diligence concerning keeping the exterior of their roofs clean and clear of debris completely neglect to properly maintain their gutters. However, this can have an extremely negative impact on the overall condition of your roof. Gutters that are clogged with leaves, pine needles, and other assorted debris can trap water, causing it to back up onto the roof and leaving your roof vulnerable to rotting. Clogged gutters also create conditions in which the excess water can leak into your home.
After winter weather sets in, don't forget to keep your roof as free of snow buildup as possible. Although it may look quaint and picturesque, snow adds both unnecessary wight and moisture to the surface of the roof. For more informaiton on preparing your roof for the winter, talk to a roofing contractor at a company like Acoma Roofing.