As we saw Friday Winter has arrived here in the Metro Atlanta area so it is important that if you have not already prepared your roof for the possibility of severe weather now is the time to prepare your roof for winter, you will prevent the need for more extensive roof repair in the future. These are a few basic maintenance steps that should be followed to get your roof ready for winter.
**Before you start, consider that climbing on a roof can be dangerous. Roofing professionals are specifically trained to navigate roofs, we have the equipment and expertise to see a potential problem before it escalates into a major issue. If you do decide to perform these maintenance steps, be sure to follow all the necessary safety rules for your protection. There are websites such as www.gaf.com/roofing/residential/diy/learn_roofing_safety, which lists ways to be safe while working on your roof.
1. Clean the Gutters
Leaves and other debris will collect in your gutters and downspouts and can prevent rainwater from being removed from your roof. This water will overflow and damage your roof, trim and siding. Cleaning out your gutters will also prevent the weight of this debris from causing the gutters pull away from the anchors which secure them to the house. Periodically checking your gutters and then doing a final cleaning once the trees are bare, will keep your gutters clear. Consider installing screens or gutter guards to prevent leaves from collecting in your gutters.
2. Clean Your Roof
It is important to remove leaves, pine needles, dirt and any other debris from your roof’s surface to prevent moisture and rot which will break down your roofing material. The best way to clean debris off of your roof is by hand using a broom or soft brush. Remember that applying too much pressure will remove roof granules which can reduce your roof’s lifespan. Another method to remove debris is with a blower. Pay special attention to the valleys which can collect water.
Using a pressure washer to clean your roof is definitely not recommended. Pressure washing a roof can blow off granules or even take off shingles. These granules protect the asphalt in the shingle from the UV rays of the sun. Shingles have sealing strips on their backs and a pressure washer can sever the strip allowing water to get under the shingle. In fact, if you use a pressure washer to clean your roof, you may no longer qualify for your roof’s warranty.
Algae, moss, or mold can be especially damaging to your roof’s lifespan. Cleaning and treating these may require a professional to prevent damage to your shingles and prevent further growth. There are DIY cleaners on the market, however, to prevent damage to your shingles, always try the cleaner on a sample shingle.
3. Check Your Clean Roof for Damages
After your roof has been cleaned, a visual examination of the surface is needed. Check for missing, cracked, curled, or frayed shingles. This would be the time to repair or replace shingles. Also examine the flashing around the vents, chimneys, skylights or other protuberances because this is where water tends to collect.
4. Check Your Attic’s Insulation and Ventilation
Your attic’s insulation and ventilation are extremely important to the health and lifespan of your roof. Your energy bills are also impacted by having the right amount of insulation and ventilation in your attic. When sunlight hits your roof, it heats the air in your attic. Proper ventilation prevents the hot air from condensing, which causes moisture and mold from rotting your roof’s supports. Additionally, the correct amount of insulation will prevent the hot air from seeping into your living space, causing higher energy costs.
In conclusion, preparing your roof for winter makes perfect sense. Not only will you have the peace of mind knowing that you have done everything possible to prevent damage to your roof, you will also know that there are no potential repairs waiting in the wings.