Your roof is one of the most important parts of your Romeo, Michigan, home. Your roof shelters and insulates your living environment, and it keeps everything you own protected from wind, rain, the sun’s harmful UV rays, and more. Thus, when rough Michigan winters roll in, you should know how to protect the roof. The following nine tips will help you get started.
1. Clean Out Your Gutters
You can avoid a host of roofing issues in winter by cleaning out your gutters before heavy precipitation arrives. When gutters aren’t packed with leaves, twigs, and other debris, they can efficiently route water away from your roof and your home’s foundation. When cleaning your gutters, make sure that your downspouts are intact. Look for bent or torn gutters and downspouts, as well as downspouts that are pulling away from the building.
2. Clean Off Your Roof
While you’re up on your ladder (or while your handyman is), go ahead and clear off any visible roof debris. Tree branches and twigs that are resting on your rooftop before winter starts can get blown into your gutters. They may even pull off roof shingles or damage your roof’s flashing if they get blown across your roof too forcefully. Starting the winter with a clean roof minimizes the likelihood of impact-related damage.
3. Have Your Trees Trimmed
Weak and dying branches are a major safety hazard at any time of the year. As a homeowner, clearing these away is an important part of fulfilling your duty of care. Scheduling regular tree limbing services will limit your risk of costly liability issues. Having these services performed just before winter arrives in Michigan will also protect your roof.
Weak and dying tree branches become increasingly likely to break off and fall when they’re loaded with ice and snow and subjected to strong winds. These can cause major, impact-related damages to a roof. Falling branches can also tear gutters and downspouts away from the building and cause other structural harm. Your tree care service can make sure that there are no weak branches directly over your roof. They can also let you know whether the trees on your property will be able to hold up in any severe winter storm.
4. Establish a Schedule for Snow and Ice Removal
You’ve probably seen quite a few cozy-looking cottages in paintings and on postcards that are perfectly framed by hanging icicles and covered in mounds of snow. Although these images certainly look picturesque, icicles and heavy snow are hardly good for your home. In fact, images like these give homeowners the wrong idea. Although no one wants to do it, these winter accumulations have to be regularly removed. Failing to do so could cause damage at every layer of your roofing, including all the way down to its substrate.
Every roof has a carefully calculated slope that’s determined by local snowfall, the roof’s materials, and its weight-bearing capacity, among other things. Thus, in ideal cases, melting snow would simply roll off the roof. However, when snowfall is heavy, you’ll have to clear the built-up precipitation on your own. If you don’t, you may end up with ice dams or snow loads that are heavy enough to cause sections of your roof to collapse. You can clear the snow by using a long-handled snow rake. Clearing your roof each time you go out to shovel your driveway and paths should suffice.
5. Schedule a Pre-Winter Roof Inspection
Prevention is always the best form of roof care. Scheduling a pre-winter roof inspection will give your roofer the chance to catch minor and still-developing issues before they turn into something major. Repairing weak areas before they’re subjected to excess moisture, strong winds, ice, and heavy snow loads is always best. Having damaged gutters, shingles, flashing, and siding repaired ahead of winter stressors will limit your spending and ensure that water never finds its way into your home.
6. Be Vigilant
Don’t let roofing problems catch you by surprise. More importantly, don’t assume that developing or newly discovered issues can wait until the winter season ends. Roofing companies work year-round to help Michigan residents keep their roofs intact, and so should you. If you notice moisture spots on your shingles, missing or curling shingles, shingle granules at the base of your downspouts, or signs of impact-related damage on the rooftop, call your roofer right away. Winter in Michigan typically spans from early December to mid-March. However, there are also years when November and April prove equally frosty. Any delay in fixing a problem will leave a damaged and vulnerable roof more prone to serious and potentially permanent problems.
7. Consider Installing Gutter Heaters
Gutter heaters are a remarkable innovation that prevents ice damming. Ice dams form on roofs as the result of insufficient attic insulation and the melting and refreezing of rooftop snow. These heavy accumulations of ice can damage a roof’s eaves, its gutters, and more. If left too long, these build-ups can also lead to a damaged roofing substrate, water spots in the building interior, and roof collapse.
With gutter heaters installed, you never have to worry about having ice dams develop. Best of all, your efforts to regularly remove snow from your roof will become far less time-consuming and labor-intensive.
8. Get Your Attic Ready for Winter
Priming your attic for winter is just as important as getting your roof ready for the cold season. After all, problems here can affect the efficacy and health of your roof once the outside temperatures plummet. To start, all gable vents and roof vents should receive a comprehensive visual inspection. These spaces should also be cleared of any accumulated debris. Your roofing company can make sure that your attic and crawlspaces have adequate insulation and good ventilation. If you’ve had major problems with ice dams in the past, consider adding more insulation to your attic or adding insulation with a higher R-value.
9. Be on the Lookout for Pests
Winter is a major pest season. Although spring brings lots of pesky insects, winter is the time when small animals seek warmth, shelter, and protection. They might take shelter in your gutters or attic. Some may even nest directly in roof areas. No matter how they enter your home or where they set up camp, you want to identify pests right away and have them removed as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of serious roof damage, indoor air quality issues, and resident health problems. Be on the lookout for:
- Bumping, scratching, or clawing noises in the attic
- Strange smells emanating from overhead
- Holes in your siding or gutters
You should also stay in close communication with your neighbors. If nearby properties are having trouble with rodent, squirrel, or raccoon infestations, there’s a likely chance that you will too.
Paramount Roofing provides exceptional roofing services to residents of Romeo, Michigan and the surrounding areas. We also offer skylight installation, gutters, and insulation. If you need help getting your roof winter-ready, give us a call today.