People who live in New York and elsewhere in the Northeast witness and experience diverse wind, snow, ice, and continual thaw-freeze conditions during winter. Therefore, even before winter starts, residents should get themselves and their homes ready for the cold weather.
New York residents can conduct house maintenance by inspecting their house’s exterior, heating system, and other utilities. Although these winter preparations help them stay safe during the cold, harsh climate, many homeowners fail to realize the significance of a roof inspection well before the start of the colder season.
The winter season and the snow, ice, freezing rain, and turbulent winds that come with them can take a toll on the roof. These weather conditions can cause snow and ice buildups, ice dams, roofing blisters, and leaky flashing, resulting in water leaks and damage to other roofing components.
Here are five steps to prepare the roof for winter:
- Prune tree branches.
Snow or ice can accumulate on tree branches, and once these branches reach the maximum weight they can carry, these can snap and fall on, or worse, pierce the roof. To prevent this from occurring, homeowners should trim tree branches hanging over or near their house.
- Remove leaves, dirt, and other debris from the gutters.
The gutters play a significant role in protecting the home from water damage as they divert water from the home’s foundation and direct it straight to the drain. However, gutters can get clogged due to the buildup of leaves, dirt, and other debris, preventing the roofing component from performing its task of leading water away from different parts of the roofing system.
During autumn, gutters often get clogged as leaves continually fall from trees. If homeowners do not get rid of the debris buildup, it can cause unwanted problems during the winter season. Besides the blockage debris poses to gutters and spouts, this debris can also damage the roofing components. Damage to any of the roof components can extend to the home’s internal and external areas, forcing homeowners to spend on roof repairs during the cold months.
- Assess the roof framework and deep-check roofing components.
A pre-winter inspection can ensure the integrity of the roofing structure and prolong the roof’s lifespan. Homeowners can address any signs of roof problems that can cause leaks during the winter season by assessing the roof framework and inspecting roofing components, including:
The roofing shingles are the first line of protection of a home from different weather events; therefore, they are also the first to degrade and deteriorate among other roofing components. Continual exposure to the sun’s heat and other extreme weather conditions can cause them to deform, curl, or become brittle.
Homeowners need to check if their roofing shingles have cracks, blisters, or gaps. If deformed or damaged shingles are not repaired or replaced, it can lead to severe consequences, such as water infiltration, sagging of interior components, and leaks in the attic.
Although roof valleys’ function is to drain water off the roof, these are prone to leaks. Roof valleys are areas where two roof slopes meet; thus, these receive disproportionately high volumes of water. If water does not shed off the valley quickly and adequately, it can get under the roofing material and cause roof leaks to develop.
Inspecting the roof valley for gaps and clearing debris that builds up within the area will help prevent water leaks and other roofing problems.
Roof Junctions and Mortar
Like the roofing shingles, roof junctions are also prone to exposure to extreme weather conditions and building settling. There are two roof junctions: (1) ridges, the outer horizontal line where two roof areas intersect, and (2) verges, which are the roofing’s outer edges. Damage in these parts of the roof can allow water to seep into the roofing structure’s interior components.
Aside from water intrusion, roofing tiles along the junctions can crack or become loose, which can be a dangerous sight because it may pop out anytime and cause severe injuries.
The roof flashing is a thin roofing material that prevents water from seeping into the interior roofing components. However, it can also experience wear and tear and damage to this material can cause severe roofing problems, such as water leaks in the attic. When water enters the roof’s interior, it can produce moisture and provide a breeding area for mold and mildew.
Inspection of the flashing can help residents determine if it needs replacing or re-application of sealant.
Besides inspecting roofing components, examining the chimney is also crucial. It will ensure the chimney’s structural soundness and safe operation, mainly during winter when homeowners often use their fireplace to keep themselves warm.
- Replace sealant on roofing features.
Homeowners with antennas, vent stacks, or chimney stacks on their roof need to inspect if the sealer around the base of these features is in good condition. Cracked or worn-out sealants and caulks can allow water intrusion, leading to water leaks in the roofing’s interior components and the attic.
- Check if the attic is adequately insulated or ventilated.
Improper insulation and ventilation in the attic can cause ice dams to form on the roof, leading to the blockage of gutter systems and preventing the prevention of water from running off the roof’s surface. Moreover, without adequate airflow and ventilation, homeowners will have difficulty regulating indoor temperatures and enjoying a warm cozy environment during the cold, harsh winter months.
Inspection of the attic’s ventilation system and insulation ensures families can live comfortably inside their warm homes. Consequently, it can also prevent water damage from condensation and ice dam formation on the roof.
Winter can bring harsh weather conditions, such as high winds, extensive snow, freezing rain, and frost – all of which can cause extensive damage to the roofs. Therefore, before the rough winter weather arrives, homeowners must consider safeguarding their roofing system against severe damage.
Pre-winter cleaning, inspections, repairs, and replacements of roofing components allow residents to address early signs of roof damage and avoid further roof deterioration caused by winter ice dams, snow, and freezing conditions.
Although homeowners may prepare their roof for winter on their own, hiring a professional roofing contractor can ensure inspection, maintenance, and repair of the roofing structure is done correctly, carefully, and safely.
Long Island Roofing and Chimney is a reliable and trustworthy roofing and chimney contractor on Long Island. With over 15 years of high-quality professional services, they are among the best companies to take care of roofing, chimney, gutters, and other home maintenance and improvement projects.
Contact Long Island Roofing and Chimney today at 631-205-6177 (Suffolk County), 516-605-6108 (Nassau County), or click here to request a quote.