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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 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 Your 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.

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. If you have an attic, this would be the first place to check. Without proper ventilation during the winter, your attic may develop mildew, mold, rust, ice dams, and other issues. 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.