Blog » How to Protect Your Roofing System this Winter

Throughout the year, our roofs rarely sustain as much damage as they do in the winter months.

With fall coming to a close and winter fast approaching, many homeowners are finishing up their last bit of outdoor work to retreat inside for the cold months ahead. From leaf removal to holiday lights, there is so much to do that many times we forget about the attention and care our roofing systems require. Throughout the year, our roofs rarely sustain as much damage as they do in the winter months. This is why it’s important to ensure your roof is able to withstand the conditions winter weather often brings. There are several strategies to make sure your roofing system is ready.

Related:  It’s not just a roof, it’s a roofing system

Roofing Inspection

Schedule an inspection by a certified roofing professional. Although they’re not necessarily recommended during a particular season, if you’re thinking about scheduling an inspection, late fall or early winter is a great time. This ensures that the roofing system is in proper condition to handle potential cold weather complications. If you’re comfortable enough, you can take a DIY approach. Inspect the roof substructure to make sure it’s strong, not soft or sagging, and also check the flashings, valleys, chimneys and sidewalls. If you notice any areas of concern, contact PRS Roofing & Siding for a professional opinion.

Related:  Why are roof inspections important?

Clear Leaves & Debris

Always keep the gutters and roof clean. Even though most of the leaves have fallen, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Leaves and other debris collect in valleys and eaves. Just like clogged gutters cause drainage problems in the wintertime, so do leaf and debris buildup on the roof. Anything left to accumulate will eventually begin to decay and turn into dirt. This literally creates a dam where ice and snow can cause significant damage.

Prevent Ice Dams

Don’t ever get on a roof that’s covered in snow and/or ice.  Instead use binoculars to check along sidewalls, valleys and eaves from the ground up.  Look for areas of accumulating frozen precipitation.  Ice dams occur when ice forces melting water under the shing les, and melted ice then runs underneath the underlayment.  

Most homes constructed after 2003, or those that have had a roof replacement since, should have ice and water shield in the valleys, at eaves, and around all roof deck penetrations. This is a water proof self-sealing underlayment to protect against ice dams.

In the event a leak begins due to an ice dam, find the drip and punch a hole in the ceiling with a broom handle and place a bucket underneath.  This will direct water to one spot, and minimize interior damage. Contact PRS Roofing & Siding, and we’ll come out to repair the damage.  

Pay Attention to Skylights

Skylights are another area of concern. Keep the exterior and surrounding area clear of leaves and debris.  Any accumulation on the slope side of the skylight attracts rain or frozen precipitation creating a way for it to force underneath the skylight cover and cause a leak.  If you notice moisture, first rule out condensation.  This is very common for skylights in bathrooms or other humid areas of the home.  Avoid skylight leaks this time of year by making sure your entire roof is clear before any winter weather arrives.  

Snow & Ice:  What NOT to do!

  • Don’t ever get on a roof that has even the slightest bit of snow or ice.
  • Don’t use a snow shovel from the ground to remove snow or ice from your roof as this will damage the shingles.
  • Don’t use rock salt to melt the ice and snow.  This damages shingles, and can void your warranty with the manufacturer.

Professional Roofing Maintenance & Inspections

Familiarizing yourself with your roof, and conducting necessary maintenance is an important task for homeowners year-round. However, it is especially important as we enter into the winter season. Whether you want to tackle winter roof maintenance yourself, or hire a professional, doing so now will help avoid inconveniencing problems and expensive repairs down the road.  For tips on winter maintenance, or to schedule a roofing inspection, contact PRS Roofing & Siding today.