Winter is approaching, which means it's time to prepare your roof for the persistent presence of ice and snow. These tips will help ensure that your roof is watertight and provides your home with the protection it needs this coming season.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Your gutters are one of your home's most important water removal systems. The primary goal of the gutters is to give water draining off the roof a safe place to go. If your gutters are clogged right now, that will only become worse when leaves fall off the trees this autumn. Clogged gutters can lead to problems like ice dams and rot on the roof. To prevent this from happening, clean your gutters before winter comes.
To do this, use a tall, steady ladder to gain access to the roof. With a trowel, scrape leaves out of the gutters into a bucket. Next, use a strong jet of water from a hose to clean out the inside of the gutter. Finally, flush out the downspout using the hose. If the downspout is clogged, a plumber's auger will help you clear it. When your gutters are totally clear, all water that enters the gutters should drain easily into the downspout and away from your house.
Inspect the Attic
Go inside the attic to look for indications of previous leaks on the underside of your roof's sheathing. In areas where leaks have occurred, you may see dark-colored wood or mildew. These spots are an indication that your roof has been compromised.
To find out for sure if your roof has a problem, wait until your town's next storm, then go into the attic again and touch those areas with your hands. If the wood is wet, it's time to call a professional.
Fix Your Ice Dams
Ice dams occur when attic hot spots cause snow to melt unevenly on your roof. Melting snow rolls down the roof to the eaves, where it refreezes and creates an ice barrier. Over time, this ice barrier will grow down the side of your house in the form of an icicle, and up the side of your roof in a wall of ice.
This wall of ice can creep up underneath shingles and can compromise your roof's sheathing. Over time, this ice dam can cause a leak inside your house. If your home had icicles last winter, act now to get your roof fixed before the cold sets in. Have a roofing contractor take a look at your roof today.