As a homeowner, one of your more costly home repairs is replacing your roof. Whether your roof is fairly new or several years old, you should protect your investment by performing annual roof maintenance and repairs. This will help extend the life of your roof and protect your home from the elements. The winter months are typically the time when your roof is exposed to the most extreme weather, including rain, snow, ice, hail, or high winds. To ensure that your roof is ready for the winter weather, follow the steps below.
Inspecting your roof before winter helps to ensure that you do not have any pre-existing damage, or areas of your roof that need attention. When inspecting your roof, look for any of these signs:
Sagging: A sagging area, or areas that appear as if they are sunk in, could be a sign that the plywood framing below is rotten.
Discoloration: Discoloration could mean that you have algae or moss on your roof. If this is not addressed in a timely manner it can lead to costly damage.
Missing Shingles: Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against the elements. In order to ensure that your roof is ready for the rain, snow, hail, and wind that may arrive in the winter months, replace all missing shingles. Also look for loose shingles that need additional roofing cement.
Curled Shingles: Curled shingles could be a sign that it is time to replace your roof. If you only have a few curled shingles within a general area, the area may need repair. Also inspect the keyways, or areas between the shingles, to ensure there is not any deterioration.
Check The Flashing: The flashing is the sheet metal that connects the joints of your roof to the side of your home, chimney, or plumbing vent pipes. Check to make sure that there are no holes or gaps in your flashing that can lead to leaks in your roof. If you find an area of the flashing with a hole or gap, then remove the old caulk completely before applying new caulking.
Clean Your Roof
Any dirt and debris that accumulates on your roof needs to be swept off prior to winter. This will require you to climb up on a ladder with a broom and gently sweep your shingles. If you do not remove debris, it will hold water when it rains and can lead to damage when left sitting on your roof for an extended period of time. When sweeping, be particularly careful if you have asphalt shingles. These shingles are particularly granular; make sure you are not sweeping away the shingles granules.
Clean And Inspect Your Gutters
Your gutters have the important job of guiding the rain, hail, and melted ice and snow from on your roof, to down drain spouts. Clogged gutters or those in need of repair can lead to pooling water and leaks. To prepare your gutters for winter, follow the steps below:
Remove Debris: Start by removing any fall leaves, dirt, and debris that have accumulated in your gutters. If not removed, the debris can restrict the flow of runoff and lead to clogs in your drain spout. You should remove the debris in your gutters at least twice a year, or each spring and fall. If cleaning your gutters is too much work, consider installing gutter guards that will drastically reduce your gutter cleaning time, as they will divert most debris back into your backyard.
Inspect: While you are cleaning your gutters be on the lookout for cracks, holes, or any loose or damaged areas. Gutters that are not in proper condition can lead to runoff in areas other than the drain spouts. Over time, this unplanned runoff can lead to damage and leaks.
Much of the maintenance and repairs above are DIY projects. However, if home maintenance is not your strong skill, or the height required to work on your roof is not a task you are up for, hire a local roof maintenance expert to complete the above maintenance and repairs for you. Even if you perform all of your roof maintenance yourself, it is a good idea to reach out to a professional on occasion to gain further insight as to how you can best maintain your roof.
This article was written by Jared Miret, father and home handyman. Jared wants everyone to know how to protect their roofs from damage during the harsh winter months. If you do experience some damage there are many roofing services in Houston that will take good care of your roofing needs.