The cold, hard winter can be a trying time for your roof. It’s the part of your house that can get the worst damage from winter’s harsh elements. From ice dams to melting snow, it can be hard to bandage your roof after winter’s long gone. But if you know what to look for and what problems may reveal themselves dealing with the damage might be easier than you think.
Roof Damage from the Inside
There are many ways that you can check for winter roof damage without even leaving the comfort of your own home. Be on the lookout for water damage and discoloration on the ceiling. That may be a sign of a leaky roof which can lead to bigger problems down the road dealing with rain and snow. Your roof might not be completely sealed. Head up to the attic with a flashlight and look for more signs of water damage like mold and discoloration. Make note of the location of the damage so you can look for the opening on the outside of the roof.
Even if there isn’t any obvious damage to the inside of the roof, there still might be an opening that could cause more damage in the future. Turn all the lights off in the attic and look for any part of the roof that reveals the sunshine of the inside. The crack, no matter how small, will make problems for you in the future. Also, check around the protrusions of your home like vents and chimneys. These are places where cracks often form in the shingles. If you make checking your attic into a routine then you’ll be able to catch problems before they turn into a big deal.
Roof Damage from the Outside
As the weather’s beginning to get warmer, it’s the perfect time to get outside and check out your roof. Before you climb onto the roof, make sure that you find a helper to spot you while you’re climbing up there. This can turn into a dangerous situation very quickly and you need to make sure that someone’s looking out for you when you’re up on the roof. Once you have a helper strap on some gloves, get a sturdy ladder, and start the investigation.
If there are places on your roof that you know have been cemented or sealed in the past, make sure to give those a look. They might have cracked due to the cold weather. After that, go check out your shingles. There could be obvious damage like a broken shingle, but be sure to look out for less significant damage like cracks or raising. This could have happened due to the sudden temperature change that can happen during the winter season, or in the transition from winter to spring. There also might be snow or ice on it that had randomly thawed, causing the shingle to raise. Depending on the damage, the shingle might not even have to be replaced. It could just need to be resealed.
Inspect your gutters and eaves. If you see water damage through these areas, it might have to do with the area being overtaken with ice. This often happens because the snow thawed and froze at a fast rate, causing things to expand and holes to form throughout your roof. As soon as the weather gets consistently warm and you feel comfortable checking out your roof, you should do so as soon as possible. This will give you a base of problems that you’ll need to take care of as spring blooms throughout your home.
Preventive Roof Maintenance for Next Winter
Investing in preventative care for your roof will prevent hefty price tags in the future. Once you have realized the types of problems that your roof often has you can pay a premium now to save money and hassle in the future. Be sure to check your gutters and downspouts making sure that they’re clean and open. These places are often where ice dams occur. Things like leaves and debris can pack up gutters during other seasons. This makes for improper drainage. When improper drainage occurs it can back up the whole water system and make for very costly damage come winter.
Keep the ventilation levels high in the attic and seal the vents. This will reduce heat levels on the roof and cause snow and ice to melt at a less rapid rate to prevent pooling at the roof’s edge. Keep an eye out for the snow that might be lying around on the roof. If it’s looking to be a lot (for example, over 12 inches) you might want to try and remove it from the roof. Make sure that you do this as safely as possible if you wish to attempt it.
Consistently check parts of the roof that cause breaks in the infrastructure such as vents and chimneys. These parts have more potential to crack and break than other parts of the roof. Once you catch a problem, be sure to reseal the shingles or replace them as needed. Be sure to make it a habit to consistently check the current status of your roof and make sure that you are aware of the age of your roof. Winter is the worst possible time to notice that you have a serious problem with your roof, or that it’s a lot older than you thought it was. If you incorporate some of these things into your roof maintenance routine you will save yourself a headache along with a few hundred bucks.
After the winter season, your roof deserves all the TLC that it possibly can. It can go through many different problems that will force you to invest your time, money, and effort into getting your roof back in shape. But it will do you nothing but good to attempt to catch these problems early. If you’re proactive about the damage to your roof, the future will be even better. Winter won’t even know how to feel about it, and you can relax in your home for seasons on seasons to come.