We like to compare roof maintenance to football. Spring is the preseason. Summer is the regular season. Autumn is the playoffs. And winter? Winter is the Super Bowl, where everyone has to bring their A-game if they want their roofs to stay their very best.
But unlike the Super Bowl, Minnesotans can actually win when it comes to winter roof maintenance. They just need to follow Angell’s Construction Services’ six roof maintenance tips!
1. Get Rid of Snow
Snow can get heavy really fast. Fluffy snow weighs 4 pounds per square foot; wet snow is about 13 pounds per square foot. If your home has an average size roof and it is covered in one foot of wet snow, that means it is bearing over 11 tons! Fortunately, a roof can typically support 20 pounds per square inch, but there is no advantage to letting snow accumulate until it can potentially cause roof and structural damage.
By removing snow from your roof, you are also substantially reducing the risk of an ice dam – a frozen ridge which forms on the edge of a roof and prevents meltwater from freely running off it. When meltwater backs up until it seeps in through the shingles and underlying decking, it can get absorbed by the home’s frame, ceilings and walls. Structural damage and black mold can both follow.
The moral of these lessons is that you really ought to remove snow from your roof before it settles and becomes icy. That is why the roof rake is an indispensable tool of Minnesotan homeownership, and also why you may consider installing heat cables on your roof before the winter arrives.
2. Maintain Your Flashing
Is your home’s flashing rusting, warped, loose or missing? Nip that problem in the bud as soon as you notice it. Flashing is essential to preventing water from infiltrating the areas of your roof surrounding vents, skylights, chimneys and valleys, and it fails to repel meltwater if it is incorrectly installed or becomes gradually damaged by exposure to the elements.
3. Maintain Your Gutters
Your home’s gutter system is essential to channeling meltwater safely away from its foundation; it is just as essential to preventing water from accumulating on your roof where it can cause leaks and rot.
If you see icicles dangling from your gutters, that likely indicates they have been dammed with ice to an extent where they are no longer effective at their important functions. Heavy ice may also force your gutters to collapse, which will damage your fascia in the process. In summary, remove ice dams from your gutters as soon as you detect their formation!
Ice dam prevention really ought to begin in the autumn. That is when you should remove dead leaves, twigs, pine needles and all other debris from your gutters and downspouts before they freeze in place and obstruct the free flow of meltwater.
4. Trim Surrounding Trees
But it doesn’t take unusually fast wind to pry off a tree branch and send it tumbling onto your roof where it will damage your shingles. Even a relatively gentle gust is powerful enough to pry a branch loose if it is dry or rotted, which is why you should spend time cutting away any branches hanging near or directly above your home’s roof every autumn.
5. Check Your Attic
If an attic is not properly ventilated, it will accumulate moisture that creates the ideal breeding ground for black mold. If it is not properly insulated, it will allow heat to escape through the roof, thus wasting energy while simultaneously creating ideal conditions for an ice dam to form. Ensuring that your attic is correctly ventilated and insulated is therefore essential to preparing the roof above for winter conditions.
6. Get a Professional Roof Inspection
As a general contractor serving Twin Cities homeowners, we love inspecting roofs. The view from a roof is always great, but more importantly getting up there allows us to detect cracked, curling and missing shingles before they can allow rain and meltwater to infiltrate the decking beneath. It also allows us to ensure that the flashing and gutter system are both in full working order, and to make any repairs that are necessary to restore the roof to its best condition before winter arrives.
Would you like to make certain your roof is ready for the harsh winter ahead? Contact Angell’s Construction today! In addition to building, remodeling and hail damage restoration, we specialize in the roof maintenance and repair services every Minnesotan homeowner needs to protect their property all year round.