With winter on its way, it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your house so it keeps your family safe and comfortable over the next few months. One important part of that is winterizing your roof.
Use this time leading up to winter to inspect the condition of your roofing system and ensure it is ready to withstand the high winds, heavy snowfall, and freezing rain of the Northeast. It’s better to handle this task now, while fall lingers on, rather than having to deal with repairs in the middle of the winter season. Additionally, you don’t want to risk avoidable damage to your home’s interior or even potential danger to you and your family.
How Do I Prepare My Roof For Winter?
As winter approaches, your roof should be in good repair, fully water-resistant and free from debris. Damage to your roof that may have been incurred throughout the hot summer could take its toll on your roof this winter.
In addition, debris on your roof could trap moisture against the shingles and fill your gutters, which could lead to clogs and water damage. You can prepare your roof for winter by inspecting your roof, getting your roof repaired if it’s needed and removing debris.
Inspect Your Roof
Start by inspecting your roof from the outside. Walk around your house and look for problems such as:
- Curling, missing, cracked shingles
- Warped areas where the roof appears to be sagging
- Excessive shingle granules filling the gutters (this is a sign your gutters are deteriorating)
You don’t need to get on your roof to inspect it, although you should check inside your gutters for shingle granules. If your roof appears to be in good condition from the outside, go inside your roof attic for a close look. Look for:
- Water damage
- Rotten wood
- Mold or mildew
- Wet spots
- Damage from pests
- Soft spots
- Holes to the outside
If your roof has any obvious damage from inside your attic, contact a roofing company as soon as possible to get your roof repaired. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell when damage inside the attic is old or new. If your attic was once repaired after a previous leak, the damage you see inside your attic could be old.
The best way to tell the difference between old water stains and new water stains is to use a moisture meter to detect water in the wood – or to simply go up in your attic following a storm to see if the wood is wet in the damaged areas.
Clear away any debris on your roof, such as tree branches and leaves from autumn storms. It’s best to hire a roofer to do this work for you, as a good roofing company will be able to remove the debris for you without putting themselves in harm’s way.
Get Your Roof Repaired
Did you notice any damage to your attic when you were inspecting it? It may be that your roof needs some easy to fix maintenance to be done. Contact a roofing company to inspect your flashings, caulking and shingles. Your roofing company can recommend repair to your roof, or roof replacement if it’s needed.
Does my roof need to be protected from snow?
Your roof should be built to withstand a heavy Delaware snow. Unless your roof is already significantly damaged, or your area experiences a heavy snow unlike the normal weather patterns expected for the area, you can assume that your roof will safely withstand exposure to snow in winter. However, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your roof from a heavy snow.
Use a roof rake to remove snow from your roof (without actually getting on your roof), or contact a roofing company to remove snow following a heavy snow storm.
How to Winterize a House in Delaware
There are plenty of ways to prepare your property for winter’s chill, from wrapping certain shrubs and trees to storing lawn equipment and making sure patio furniture is secure. You may also want to tune up your hot water heater and HVAC system and check for any damage to your house—inside or outside—that could make it susceptible to the elements. However, in many ways, your roof serves as a first line of defense for both the interior and exterior of your residence, which means it should be at the top of any winterize-your-home checklist.
In fact, there comes a point during winter when you may not be able to repair or replace your roof. Many roofing products possess adhesive properties that require the sun’s heat for successful activation. When the temperature drops below 40° F, it’s considered too cold to install a new roof on your Delaware home, as the shingles and other products will not seal properly.
That’s why the best time to winterize your roof is now. Here is what that process looks like:
1. Do a Thorough Inspection
With the help of professional roofers in Delaware, investigate the condition of your roof and see if it needs cleaning. Additionally, check for common roof issues, such as storm damage, leaks, loose shingles, premature aging and drainage issues. If you identify visible damage—such as stains, rot, or missing shingles—plan to do repairs before winter strikes. These minor issues can turn into major problems when compounded by ice, heavy snowfall, and cold temperatures. Also, take this opportunity to replace any caulking that is cracked or wrinkled, secure loose flashing, reinforce your roof to prevent ice dams, and insulate your pipes.
2. Check for Pests
Pests, such as insects and small rodents, create problems for many Delaware homeowners. Part of your roof inspection should include looking for evidence of pests. This gives you a chance to call an exterminator and address the issue before the start of winter.
3. Inspect and Clean Gutters
Because of autumn and dealing with falling leaves and debris, you may already be confident your gutters are clean and functional. However, it doesn’t hurt to give them another look as you head into the winter season. Check for cracks, holes, or built-up debris. Blocked or broken gutters impede the ability of melting snow and ice to drain properly, which may harm your roof and home. One way you can test your gutters is by running hose water through them and making sure the water is carried away from your foundation. If your gutters are clogged, have them cleaned by a professional.
4. Remove Precarious Tree Limbs
Winter in Delaware means wind and snow storms. Those elements can impact the trees near your home. Get ahead of this potential problem by checking for any branches hanging over your house that could snap and fall, damaging your roof and potentially the interior of your home as well. Trimming these branches and even removing dead trees that could potentially fall over are two more important parts of winterizing your property and protecting your roofing system.
5. Investigate the Interior
In addition to examining the exterior of your roof, you should also check your ceilings for interior problems. Ventilation and insulation are also vital to proper roof function, so sealing your attic should be added to you winterizing to-do list. As for your ceilings, look for leaks, cracks, or water stains that indicate a potential issue. If you detect any damage or deterioration, now is the time to schedule repairs with your trusted roofing contractor in Delaware.
6. Take a Look at Your Chimney
Finally, don’t forget to inspect your chimney for cracks and obstructions and have it professionally cleaned and repaired if necessary. To optimize the function of your chimney, it’s recommended that you clean it annually—or more frequently if you tend to burn wood several months out of the year. Also, check for nesting birds or the presence of other pests so you can remove them properly before using your fireplace. Having a fully functional chimney means you can look forward to many toasty evenings in front of the fire all winter long.
Preparing Your Delaware Home for Winter
Winter is an enchanting season brimming with plenty of fun traditions, holidays, and activities to look forward to. A big part of enjoying the season is having a comfortable home to keep you safe and warm even with a storm raging outside. Because of the difficulty of replacing a roof in winter, or roof repair in winter, it’s better to go into the season thoroughly prepared for whatever it throws at you. You also don’t want to risk having inclement weather exacerbate existing issues.
Our roof specialists at Bromwell Construction Company know just what to look for when inspecting your roof and can assist with any repairs you need to properly winterize your house this year. Call Bromwell Construction Company to make an appointment for roof repair in Bethany Beach, Kennett Square, Hockessin, Pike Creek, Landenburg and the surrounding area. We’re a respected construction company in your area and will be happy to help!