While most homeowners think of the spring season as the best time of the year for home improvement, the truth is that roof maintenance is a year-round chore. And just as it’s important to make sure your roof is in good shape before the rainy spring season, it’s equally important to make sure it’s ready to stand up to another Midwest winter too. That’s why you should never neglect roof maintenance in the late fall months. Preventative measures now can help ensure you’re not faced with unexpected surprises after that big first snowfall and subsequent first thaw.
Like most things, regular home maintenance really pays off in the long run. It’s an important investment for protecting your home. So, what are the main home maintenance tasks that you should do now to make sure your roof is ready for winter?
6 Steps to Prepare Your Roof for Heavy Snows
We recommend six seasonal measures for successful roof maintenance. Make sure you take the time to properly inspect and soft wash the roof, and clear and optimize gutters before winter.
Inspect the Roof
Roofs take a beating throughout the year, whether it be storms and hot temperatures in the summer or snow and freezing conditions in the winter. It’s always a good idea to perform — or have a professional perform — regular inspections on your roof. During a routine inspection, you can identify loose or missing shingles, damaged shingles, flashing issues, wood rot, and more. These problems are usually fairly simple to spot and inexpensive to correct. If left unaddressed, however, damage could worsen and spread, leading to hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of dollars, in damages and repair costs.
Washing the roof thoroughly is important for several reasons prior to the winter months. Soft washing is preferable for this job because it can be used to spray the shingles from a close distance without causing damage. Also, using specially formulated roof cleaning detergents, its an easy way to remove contaminants.
- It removes twigs, leaves, branches and other debris that can interfere with drainage, add extra weight, and damage roofing materials.
- Soft washing the roof also works to remove any algae, mildew and mold that has begun to grow on the surface. This helps extend the life of shingles and give your home more curb appeal.
- A clean roof also does a better job of reflecting the sun’s rays, which means your home will absorb less heat and provide better levels of energy efficiency. This is important all year-round.
Since the average Midwest roof can cost upwards of $7,000, a roofing replacement is hardly a drop in the bucket expense. With proper care, the average roof can last upwards of 30 years. Periodic soft washing can help keep it in good condition for longer and decrease the risk of premature replacement. Be sure that this service is done by a reputable company that knows how to clean carefully without damaging it.
Soft washing is an effective way to clean the roof, but once this debris has been cleared away and pushed into the gutters, the gutters will also need to be cleaned. Clear gutters are important for a variety of reasons. For example, if gutters are clogged, any water runoff won’t drain properly away from the home, which could potentially lead to foundation degradation. Well-functioning gutters are critically important during the winter months to clear away the moisture of heavy snowfall and prevent ice dams.
Ice dams occur when the snow melts on the roof’s surface and re-freezes before it has a chance to enter the gutter. This problem is often caused when the gutter is clogged with debris. If ice dams become large enough, water can infiltrate the home and cause water damage. That’s why the first thing you should do after soft washing is clean out the gutters. If ice dams persist, consider purchasing a special roof rake.
Optimize Gutters and Downspouts
As part of your fall home maintenance inspection, check the condition of gutters and downspouts. They are fairly flimsy and can be damaged by tree branches or heavy storms. Gutters that are damaged or pulling away from the house should be replaced. Downspouts that are dented or twisted can often be bent back into place.
Additionally, you might consider extending the downspouts which channel the flow of water from the gutters in order to deposit it further away from the building’s foundation. Any significant water buildup near your property, which is common after a heavy snowfall and subsequent thaw, could lead to erosion of the foundation or flooding in the basement or crawlspace.
Fall is a great time to refresh the caulking or sealant around the equipment attached to the roof. If the seal is worn out or cracked, it can create the perfect entry point for moisture which infiltrates the wood and causes water damage. Take some time to replace the sealant around antennas, ventilation stacks, and the chimney.
Have the Chimney Cleaned
Modern homes still need this traditional service. Cleaning the chimney is important to clear away soot and flammable material which collects and builds up over time. This is an important step to preventing house fires. Annual chimney sweeping is recommended for homeowners who use their fireplace often. And now is the time to have the chimney cleaned out; ensure that it’s safe before you go to light a fire.
Get Your Home Ready for the Winter
Winters are harsh in Ohio. Is your house ready to stand up to what Mother Nature throws at it? Contact Trotta’s before it’s too late at (330) 940-3705 or request a free estimate.