In Parts 1 & 2, we went through the many ways the fall affects your roof and how you can prepare for these factors. In Part 3, we discuss the last few necessary steps to make before winter sets in.
When the temperature gets even colder and last pile of autumn leaves has been raked away, it’s time to complete preparations for winter. Your roof has gone through the seasonal wear and tear of spring, summer, and fall but nothing takes a bigger toll on it than winter. By now, it may be too late to get major repairs or replacements done, but it’s not too late for these additional precautions against damage on your roof.
Checking Attic Ventilation. Condensation can result from the buildup of warm air caused by improper ventilation. It’s important to have open sources of ventilation for the colder seasons when a poorly ventilated attic can promote moisture which can, in turn, cause the decay of wood sheathing and rafters, and make the roof surface hot enough to melt the fallen snow and create ice dams. Attic air temperatures should be closer to the outside air temperature. Make sure louvers, ridge vents or soffit vents are open and free of any blockage.
Avoid Ice Dams. Meltwater from snow often refreezes at a roof’s overhang to form an ice dam. This can block the drainage; the water that backs up under the roofing system may then cause leaks. Prevent this from happening in two ways: As mentioned earlier, keep your attic cool and properly ventilated to reduce or prevent snowmelt, or clear and drain your gutters of any standing water that can freeze and speed up the ice dam process.
Get some help. Roof maintenance and protection is tough on its own, and even tougher as the winter months approach. Whether it’s purchasing a long-handled roof rake to brush off the snow, or calling in for professional help for minor adjustments and repairs, don’t try to rush things and do your winter preparations all on your own.