How To Prepare Your Home for Winter

Articles | Roofing
August 7, 2023

It’s summertime, and winter might be the last thing on your mind. But winter storms and changing temperatures can be hard on your home, and preparing your house and roofing for winter is vital. You might not think much about your roof until there’s a problem. However, problems often happen in winter: a rainstorm leaking in through your ceiling causing damage to the room below, or a branch breaking off from your tree during a windy day and smashing into your house.

While you can get emergency work done any time of the year, the cold, rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest makes it more difficult for roofers and other home repair professionals to do their best work. It’s better to be proactive and get roof maintenance done before any problems occur. That’s why the best time to start preparing your home for winter is in the warm, dry summer and early fall months.

So, what should you do to winterize your home and roof? Here are some ways you can start preparing right now.

Clean Your Gutters

It’s a good idea to clean out your gutters a few times each year, especially if you have a lot of trees near your home. Clean gutters are especially important as it gets closer to winter. Fall leaves can clog your gutters and downspouts, creating problems such as ice dams and pooling when the winter rains set in.

Taking care of your gutters is an essential task for any homeowner. Gutters and downspouts lead water away from your roof and house, so having these clean and in working order can help your home stay in good condition for longer.

You might have considered gutter guards to make your life easier. While they do keep large debris like leaves and sticks out of your gutters, they also come with their own maintenance issues and can still lead to buildup on top of the guards. For some homes, they’re more trouble than they’re worth, and many roofers don’t recommend them.

Remember to take the proper safety precautions when working on or around your roof. Wear the appropriate safety gear, have a spotter, and so on. If at all in doubt about the process, reach out to a professional roofer to do the high-up work for you. At Interstate, we recommend always working with a certified contractor to ensure the highest quality work and the safest environment. We are not responsible for injury if you choose to do the work on your own, but we are happy to give you a hand.

Inspect Your Home for Any Problems

It’s important to do a visual sweep of your home periodically to ensure that everything is in order. Take a good look at all the rooms in your house from floor to ceiling. Are there any leaks or cracks? A new crack in the ceiling can be the first warning sign that a leak will start in winter. Any signs of a leak should be taken care of immediately to prevent further damage.

Don’t forget to inspect your attic. You might not often go into your attic, but it’s a key place to start if you’re winterizing your home. An attic that is not insulated properly or that has poor ventilation can lead to a great deal of heat loss from your home and can add to your home’s heating costs. You can save up to 15 percent on your total heating bill by ensuring your attic is well-insulated,

Attic heat loss isn’t just costly; it can also cause roofing problems. Excess heat escaping from your attic can impact the roof directly above, causing issues like curling shingles or ice dams in colder climates. Consider redoing the insulation in your attic to help prevent heat loss and roof damage when winter arrives.

Examine Your Shingles

Your roof keeps you protected from the elements. Don’t wait for a leak or other emergency to occur. If it’s been a while since your roof was inspected, or if you know your roof is older, now is the perfect time to check it for issues.

You can visually examine your home’s shingles to evaluate if there are any problems. Are there any shingles missing? You can also look for damaged shingles. Damage can present itself in many ways, such as:

  • Loose shingles
  • Curling edges
  • Sticks, leaves, or other yard debris stuck underneath
  • Granules starting to wear off

If you would rather have an expert evaluate your roof, or if you see damaged or missing shingles, call a professional roofer. By replacing a few shingles now, you can help prevent leaks and water damage when winter rain sets in.

Inspect Your Roof’s Flashing

Flashing is a component of your roof that is placed around any intersections, joints, and connections, such as around the chimney or along the eaves. Usually made out of galvanized steel or aluminum, it acts as further protection for your home, directing water safely off your roof.

However, winter storms, wind, and changing temperatures can cause flashing to loosen over time. This can create entry points for water into your house, which can result in leaks and other water damage. A professional roofer will be able to inspect your roof’s flashing and make sure that it is tight and secure so that water can’t make its way inside.

Regular maintenance helps prevent issues like leaks, but it can also help your roof last longer and save you from having to replace your whole roof, which is far more time-consuming and costly.

Trim Your Trees

Your trees make your yard shady and pleasant. But when was the last time you had them trimmed? Winter storm damage—wind, rain, or even ice and snow—can cause branches to snap off and lead to damage to your roof, gutters, and yard. Falling branches are a huge headache and can even be dangerous for your family.

To avoid this problem, trim your trees and other large plants every year. Not only does this help them look nicer and healthier, but it can also maintain your home and roof. As another bonus, trimming your trees can mean less debris going into your gutters, saving you time and energy on cleaning out your gutters.

Ready to start preparing your home and roof for winter? Contact our roofing experts at Interstate Roofing today to do an inspection and help prepare your roof for winter. We’ve been providing quality residential roofing in the Portland area for over 30 years and would love to help you maintain your home and prepare for the rainy season with winter roofing.