With winter looming on the horizon, it’s important to shore up your home. The first line of defense against the elements, your roof is critical for keeping moisture out and energy bills down. Here are some tips for preparing your roof for the chilly fall and winter months.
1. Inspect the entire roof from the ground.
Even one slightly damaged shingle can lead to a minor leak, which can cause catastrophic damage when left unnoticed. Take the time to carefully study every portion of your roof from the ground. Look for shingles that are blistering, buckling, curling or missing entirely.
While you’re assessing the shingles, keep a watchful eye for rusted spots or damaged caulking along any metal flashing. You should also look at your vent pipes in search of worn or cracked rubber boots. Take note of any moss or lichen buildup, since this can be a sign of underlying decay.
2. Clean out your gutters and downspouts.
Clogged gutters allow water to overflow back onto the roof. They also cause water to flow down near a home’s foundation where it can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Get a step ladder and make sure your gutters are free of leaves, branches and birds nests. You should also use a hose to force water down your vertical downspouts to make sure they aren’t clogged with debris.
3. Inspect the edges of your roof.
In the winter, the edges of your roof could develop structural damage due to ice dams that form in freezing temperatures. Make sure you have the proper ventilation system in place to help protect your roof’s edges from this type of damage. You should also inspect your roof’s edges for any changes in pitch to determine if you need new flashing.
4. Explore your attic.
If your roof leaks, you may notice yellow or brown water stains on the ceiling inside your attic. Look closely for any signs of discoloration, while also checking for any unusual smells. When moisture migrates into a home from a roof leak, it can lead to mold growth which can taint the air with a mildew-like odor.
If you do notice water stains or mildew odor, it’s likely a sign that you have at least one leak in your roof, requiring attention from a professional roofing contractor.
5. Schedule a professional inspection.
If you see any signs of shingle damage or general wear and tear, invite a professional roofing contractor out for a closer look. Even if you don’t notice any obvious damage, it’s best to have an annual inspection to catch minor issues before they evolve into expensive problems. A contractor can repair a loose shingle or small leak for a small fee. On the other hand, when they go unnoticed, even a seemingly minor leak can result in unwieldy repair charges.
If your roof was recently installed and experienced a lot of weather since its last inspection, a visual inspection from the ground may be sufficient, as long as you also conduct a meticulous examination of your attic. In any other instance, however, it’s best to schedule a thorough roof inspection from a reputable roofing contractor who has the experience and expertise to spot things you might overlook.
The Importance of an Annual Inspection
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that even tiny roof leaks can cause significant damage when they go unnoticed and cause mold to grow. According to experts, attic mold removal can cost as much as $6,000, depending on the extent of the damage. On the other hand, the comparative cost to replace or repair a few damaged shingles is relatively low.
While homeowners may be able to safely perform some basic fall and winter roof maintenance tasks, they should defer to the experts in most situations. It takes a seasoned professional contractor to properly assess and determine the full extent of roof damage and any appropriate repairs that may be required.
DIY roof maintenance can also put homeowners at risk, especially if they aren’t used to climbing ladders. In addition to accidentally damaging their roofs, homeowners can suffer serious injuries if they lose their balance or a ladder collapses unexpectedly.
This is why it’s generally best to rely on reputable experts to ensure that your home’s roof is prepared for harsh winter conditions. Sonners Contracting provides Castle Rock, Denver and the entire Front Range area with flawless roof inspections, repairs and installations. Contact our skilled roofing professionals to make sure your home’s roof is ready for Colorado’s harsh winter conditions.