Winter is rarely any homeowner's favorite time of year. As beautiful as a fresh snowfall can be, the cleanup work is often arduous. From shoveling sidewalks to clearing driveways, any heavy snowstorm comes with the promise of plenty of work. It's easy to neglect your roof in the rush to make your home liveable again, but treating it as an afterthought can have real consequences.
If you want to make sure that your roof survives this winter and many more winters to come, then follow these four essential steps for winter roof upkeep.
Step 1: Leave the Snow Alone
You read that right: you shouldn't make any plans to pull that fresh snowfall down off of your roof. Unless your roof has known structural issues (in which case, why didn't you repair them before winter?), snow accumulation is unlikely to cause much harm. Getting up on your roof to clear it off can also be potentially risky for little to no gain.
Step 2: Inspect for Ice Dams
Ice dams can form around the edge of your roof as your snow melts. As you might imagine, these are areas where meltwater refreezes to create a barrier that can block snow and water. Ice dams may also lead to dangerous icicle formation. Ice dams should not form under normal circumstances, and their presence usually indicates a problem with heat loss from your home.
Step 3: Investigate Gutter Blockages
Ice can quickly form in gutters or downspouts if you did not clean them sufficiently before the winter. Small chunks of ice can block your gutters without creating a large, visible ice dam, so this problem can sometimes be hard to spot. Look for indications that meltwater is draining over the side of your roof or sounds that may indicate that water isn't flowing freely through your downspouts.
Step 4: Rely on Professionals
Getting onto your roof is dangerous any time of the year, but it can be especially hazardous in the winter. There's often no need to climb onto your roof during the winter, but severely clogged gutters or ice dams are two issues that you should resolve as soon as possible. If you notice these problems, then it's best to contact a professional for assistance.
Taking care of your roof in the winter is mostly a matter of vigilance. Snow on a roof that's in otherwise good condition isn't a cause for concern, but you should always look for more insidious signs of trouble. Removing ice dams and gutter blockages (and determining their underlying cause) can ensure that winter doesn't lead to costly roof damage.
Check out sites like https://theroofdoctor.com/ to learn more about roofing.