As winter approaches, homeowners should take proactive steps to ensure that their roof has adequate protection from adverse conditions. In Massachusetts, unique weather patterns can cause roofs to suffer from more wear and tear than in other areas, so paying attention to the roof is especially important. Here are some ways that homeowners can prepare their roofs for winter:
Inspect The Gutter System
The eavestroughs and gutters should be thoroughly cleaned and inspected before winter arrives. Homeowners should remove leaves, twigs, and other debris to ensure that water from snowmelt or rain can drain freely from their roofing system. Otherwise, these clogged gutters can cause water to pool, eventually damaging your home’s foundation or interior walls.
Remember to check the integrity of downspouts to ensure no cracks, separations, or other damages. In addition, downspouts and gutters should be securely fastened to the home’s exterior to prevent water from seeping in or pooling near the foundation.
Prune Nearby Trees
While trees can provide lovely shade during the warmer months, overhanging branches and limbs can cause extensive damage to your roof during the winter. This threat is especially applicable in areas where snow and ice storms occur regularly.
Why? The extra weight of ice and snow on weak or rotting branches can cause them to snap off and fall onto your roof. When you consider that an average tree branch or limb can weigh up to several hundred pounds when weighed down with snow and ice, you can see why it’s important to trim or prune trees before winter arrives.
If the limb isn’t there in the first place, it can’t break and cause damage.
Check Roof Flashing
Flashing plays a crucial role in preventing interior and exterior water damage. It keeps water out of joints, valleys, and walls, providing a metal barrier near chimneys, skylights, and other areas.
Homeowners should replace corroded or damaged flashing immediately. In addition, ensure the protective coating on metal flashings is intact to keep moisture from seeping into the roof system.
Inspect Your Roof
Your roofing system is the first line of defense against the outdoors. During the warmer months, exposure to the sun, rain, and humidity can contribute to moss and algae growth. Much like the way these contaminants aren’t good when they are inside the home, they aren’t good on the outside either.
You want to prevent contaminants from growing on shingles and other roofing materials for optimal results. Unfortunately, their presence could compromise the protect your home from the elements, leading to leaks and damage.
If you are ill-equipped to inspect your roofing, it’s always best to hire a professional roofing company or contractor to complete this task. They remove the risk of you falling off the roof and have the training to identify other potential issues that an untrained eye may miss.
Alternatively, you might turn to technology such as drones for a safer inspection. But to avoid potential legal or safety issues, it is best to leave any drone inspections to licensed professionals trained in using drones for roofing inspections.
Check Your Roof’s Insulation
The insulation in your attic is a barrier between the outside air and your house. Inspecting your insulation for wet spots, dampness, holes, mildew, or mold. If you see any of these signs, your insulation isn’t doing its job correctly and should get repaired or replaced immediately.
Generally, insulation can last for several years. However, if there is wear, tear, or damage, you’ll want to address any underlying issues before winter arrives.
For instance, if there are gaping holes, check for pests. Animals like raccoons, squirrels, and rodents can find their way into your attic space, making it “home” and causing further damage to the insulation and your roof.
Should you find dampness, wet spots, mold, or mildew growing on the insulation, it’s likely a sign of a leak. Trained professionals can locate and fix the source, preventing further damage to your home or roofing system.
Conduct An Energy Audit
One of the best ways to identify potential issues with your home’s energy efficiency is to conduct an energy audit. In addition to checking the roofing system for leaks, an energy audit can identify potential air leaks or drafts that may compromise the comfort of your home.
Areas susceptible to energy loss include:
- Attic Hatches
- Wall Outlets And Switches
Sealing gaps and cracks with weather stripping or caulk will help maintain the temperature inside your home. This attention to detail can help stop ice dams from forming on your roof, posing a severe threat to your home’s structural integrity.
Clean The Chimney
If your home features a wood-burning or gas fireplace, pay attention to cleaning and maintaining your chimney. This vital exhaust system should get cleaned and inspected annually to ensure continued safety.
According to statistics, chimneys are a leading cause of home fires. The buildup of creosote, a byproduct of burning wood, can ignite and lead to devastating results if not taken seriously. Further, if there are obstructions or cracks in the chimney, smoke and carbon monoxide can enter your home, creating a hazardous environment.
To protect you and your family against this risk, hire a professional contractor to inspect and clean the chimney. And investing in carbon monoxide detectors will also help alert you to dangerous gas levels in your home, should the threat arise.
Don’t Let A Winter Storm Catch You Unprepared!
You can avoid costly repairs or replacements by investing time and money into a pre-winter roof inspection and maintenance. Furthermore, performing these tasks will guarantee your family’s safety against the harsh winter elements. So don’t let a winter storm catch you unprepared – make sure your home is ready for the winter winds and snow!
Flynn Roofing is ready to help with any roofing needs for homeowners in Massachusetts. With decades of experience, contact us if you need advice on a roofing system for your home in Newton, Wellesley, Dover, Hingham, Norwell, Needham, Cohasset, and Scituate.