The winter brings harsh weather to most of the country. Along with that harsh weather, the cold season also often brings problems to your roofing. While the blistering cold isn’t the most ideal time for any activity, it’s especially difficult for providing essential maintenance to your roof. But sometimes problems arise that just can’t wait until spring to be fixed.
If you’re anticipating that your roof could be in trouble this winter, you’re going to want to know these five winter roofing facts. For over 30 years, Interstate Roofing has helped prevent problems with roofs in the Portland, Oregon, area, and we want to share what you can be doing to prepare your roof when the winter comes.
Fact #1: It’s important to prepare beforehand
If you want to make sure your roof is safe this winter, you’re going to want to get started on maintenance before the season even begins. As you might imagine, it’s more difficult for roofers to work in the winter months for more than a few reasons.
Not only is it more dangerous for them to work up there, but the work can also produce less than favorable results during that time. Roofers could be wasting shingles while installing or repairing asphalt roofs because they aren’t meant to be applied during that season. That means services often come at a higher cost too, and even when the job is completed in the winter, the shingles may not stick the way they’re supposed to.
You’ll want to conduct maintenance checks (or have a professional do it for you) to identify places on your roof that could be in trouble when the cold weather rolls around. This preventative maintenance could include tasks like cutting branches off trees near your roof and cleaning your gutters and roof flashing before the winter. When snow and ice get involved, these tasks become less safe and efficient to complete.
Fact #2: Don’t go on the roof in the winter
This could be the most important of all the roofing facts to understand. It might feel like you need to take action to care for your roof during these colder months, but your safety and the safety of the roof are more important. Maybe you’ve noticed that tree branches and debris are lying on top of the roof or that your gutters and flashing are covered with ice and leaves. But you should not complete debris removal in the winter; it’s simply unsafe.
Roofing companies may come out during the colder months for emergencies and other essential projects, but they know that there are more risks than rewards when it comes to getting up there. If you fear that a section of your roof is in trouble, you should step away from your home and walk around it from a distance, checking for any sagging. Don’t go up there on your own. Even if the weather is nice one day, you don’t know if there will still be ice.
Fact #3: Ice dams are one of your roof’s biggest enemies in the winter
After snowstorms, your roof could be at risk of creating an ice dam. An ice dam is a block of ice that often forms along the edge of your roof. When this happens, it doesn’t allow melting snow to drain from the roof. Refreezing rainwater can also cause ice dams.
When an ice dam occurs, parts of your roof could begin to leak or sag, especially if your attic isn’t properly insulated. In order to prevent ice dams, maintenance checks should be conducted during the warmer months, as well as on the warmer days of winter. So make sure you’re conscious of this particular issue.
Fact #4: If you’re forced to have a roof installed in the winter, make sure to hire a roofing contractor with experience (and good insurance)
If you’re faced with the decision to replace your roof during the colder months, make sure you hire someone you trust. Asphalt roofing tends to have a much higher chance of not being installed properly because of the weather and cold temperatures—and improper installation can lead to more issues down the road.
The adhesive strip on the back of asphalt shingles is activated by sunlight, and when the heat from that sunlight isn’t available, the asphalt doesn’t bond together strongly enough. So when it gets too windy, the asphalt shingles are more likely to fly off, exposing your roof and causing damage. If you’re making the decision to install a roof this winter, ask your roofer about how they will prevent these issues.
Fact #5: Professionals can do maintenance checks for you
Having proper maintenance done throughout the year is the best way to avoid having to go through repairs or installation in the winter. Aside from unforeseen damage, most problems can be addressed before the winter comes, especially when you have a professional inspect your roof. A roofing contractor will be able to spot damage and leaks before they turn into bigger problems during the wrong months.
Preventative maintenance can keep your roof looking its best while also keeping up with the maintenance requirements of your manufacturers’ warranty. But most importantly, preventative maintenance in the warmer months prolongs the life of your roof—and that’s what we are all after.