5 Ways to Prepare Your Roof for Winter

Roofs experience wear and tear year-round, but no other season is as hard on your roof as winter. The constant freezing and thawing cycles, along with the weight of heavy snow, can do a lot of damage if your roof is not in good shape heading into winter. Having to call your roofing company for a big winter leak or sagging roof is no fun, so take the time to prepare your roof with these five tasks.

Check for and Repair Peeling Shingles

A shingle that's peeling a little bit in the fall is likely to go missing completely by the end of winter, and you’ll then have to repair a leak. Melted snow can work its way under the edge of a peeling shingle, expand as it re-freezes, and then pry the shingle further away from the roof's surface.

If you can see the entirety of your roof from the ground, you should be able to spot peeling shingles without climbing onto a ladder. If you can't see your whole roof from the ground, take a look at the less-visible spots when you're cleaning your gutters. A few missing shingles are easy for your roof company to repair or replace; if you are missing a lot of shingles, you may need a new roof.

Clear Your Gutters

Once the trees have lost their leaves for the fall, make sure you clean out your gutters. Blocked gutters prevent melted snow from draining off your roof properly, which may result in more extensive water damage, peeling shingles, and leaks. Once you scoop all of the debris out of your shingles, pour a bucket of water into them to ensure they flow freely.

Look Over the Flashing

While you're up on a ladder cleaning your gutters, take a peek at the flashing. Flashing is the metal barrier around chimneys, in roof valleys, and around vents and items that project from your roof. Over time, flashing can become pitted, bent, or loose, which can lead to leaks. Water can seep under the flashing and moisten the wood that underlays your roof, leading to rot and an increased risk of roof collapse.

Replacing damaged flashing requires you to remove some of the surrounding shingles, so this is a job best left to your roofing company.

Trim Your Trees

If you have any trees overhanging your roof — or even near your roof — make sure you have them trimmed before winter rolls in. When snow and ice build up on tree branches, they can cause those branches to crack. You don't want a fallen branch to land on your roof. Plus, water can trickle down a branch and drip onto your roof, re-freezing into an iceberg that leads to moisture damage.

If a tree is constantly growing and interfering with your roof, consider having the entire tree removed. You'll protect your roof and avoid having to call the tree company for a trim every fall.

Add Insulation to Your Attic

A well-insulated attic is an often-overlooked safeguard against winter roof damage. If your attic is not well insulated, heat will seep through the roof, melting snow that later re-freezes and causes your shingles to peel.

In most areas, you need 10 to 14 inches of fiberglass batt insulation to adequately protect your roof. If your insulation is thinner, simply add another layer on top. Unroll the new batts perpendicular to the existing ones.

Winter is hard on roofs, but if you prepare your roof with the tasks above, you'll greatly reduce your risk of winter roof damage. Contact Moriarty Roofing & Sheet Metal if you come across any missing or damaged shingles or damaged flashing that you need to have repaired as winter approaches.