Giving your roof a once-over in the fall is a great way to ensure you make it through the winter without damage or the need for repairs. One of the biggest winter risks is a leaky roof. These are most often caused by ice dams which occur when snow on the roof melts during the day. If the water has nowhere to drain, it will freeze when the temperatures fall overnight and expand, pushing up under the shingles to cause leaks. These can result in mold, mildew and structural damage. Here are a couple of routine maintenance tips to help keep your roof in good condition this winter.
- Being sure to practice proper ladder safety, check the roof for any debris that may have collected over the summer. Twigs, balls and frisbees should all be removed.
- Clean the gutters. If you have more than leaves in the gutters, trim a plastic spatula to fit in the gutter and use it to scrape your gutters clean.
- Ensure your downpipes are clean and free of debris.
- Install a gutter guard so you don’t have to continuously clean the gutters. This will also keep snow out so that melted snow can drain properly and your gutters won’t get weighed down with snow that may pull them from the wall.
- Check the flashing around windows and chimneys to ensure that there are no leaks, lifts or other damage.
- Get up in the attic and check that your attic ventilation is not blocked. This will allow any moisture that does get in to evaporate.
- Check that your insulation is evenly distributed and uncompressed. This will prevent heat from escaping and melting the snow on the roof in the first place.
- Ensure that your chimney is clean to prevent fires.
- Close your chimney flue and test for leaks. If you don’t intent do use your fireplace, block the chimney with a balloon or other device to prevent warm air leaks.