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Preparing Your Roof for the Winter: 5 Things You Need to Know

October 22, 2021 | 4 min. read

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The winter can be brutal on your roof. Severely cold temperatures, snow and ice build-up, and ventilation issues are just three of many problems your roof endures during the colder months.


Winter can cause a lot of wear and tear on your roof. And if you aren’t prepared, the life of your roof is at stake. A lifetime of a roof in the roofing industry is 20-30 years, but brutal winters can bring that lifetime down substantially. 


Rescue My Roof has been working through Wisconsin winters for over a decade, providing exceptional service and education to our clients about how to maintain their roofs in the winter months.


We want you to be informed as well – regardless of whether or not we are the contractor for you. So we’ve put together a list of all of the things you need to consider before winter hits so when it does, your home will be as safe as possible. 


1. Buying a Roof Rake


Snow and ice build-up on the roof can cause significant issues. That’s why the trusty roof rake is here to save the day.


During the winter, snow tends to melt and slide down the roof. Later freezing into blocks of ice that can slowly creep up your roof over time. 


This ice build-up is what we refer to as ice dams – and you’ll want to try to avoid them at all costs.


Preparing roof for the winter involves purchasing a roof rake. As the water continues to freeze, it expands and can creep beneath shingles, prying them up. Additionally, ice dams increase the likelihood of leaks on your roof and in between your gutters and the fascia. 


To avoid the snow and ice build-up, you can purchase a roof rake. A roof rake is designed to be used from the ground, so you don’t have to take a tricky trip to the roof. 


You can use the rake to scoop off snow and ice that have accumulated on your roof. And, there are some roof rakes available for purchase that have rubber pieces that prevent you from any granule loss on your roof. 


Pro tip: Do not scrap the snow down to the bare shingles, as this can cause granule loss. Instead, leave just a thin layer of snow and the sun will likely melt it away in a few hours. 


You can purchase a roof rake here


2. Trim Any Low-Hanging Tree Branches


Have any pesky tree branches hanging near your roof? Before the winter hits, you’ll want to trim those back. 


Low-hanging branches can scratch your roof when they blow in the wind. This leads to issues like granule loss and can make your shingles less effective.


Additionally, a tree close to your roof can cause algae to grow. Algae loves and clings to moisture, which will age your roof faster.


To avoid these common issues, trim back your tree on a regular schedule. Any time you notice it’s getting too close to your roof, it’s time to get the clippers.


3. Do a Basic Inspection


You don’t have to be a trained roofing professional to conduct a simple inspection on your roof.


From the ground, if you notice any sagging on your roof, shingle loss, granule loss, or visible flashing, those are issues you’ll want to repair before the winter.


All of these issues can lead to leaks and moisture getting into the attic. And left unchecked, mold and mildew can begin to rot out the wood of your decking


Conducting a seasonal inspection to notice these issues will allow you to get ahead of them before they cause substantial damage to your home.


Avoid costly repairs or a roof replacement, and inspect your home.


4. Check Your Ventilation System


Roof ventilation is essential. Without proper ventilation, you run into a myriad of issues: mold in the attic, poor energy efficiency, ice damming, and more. 


Proper ventilation means your roof is a consistent temperature throughout. There won’t be any extreme hot or cold spots, as the exhaust and intake vents are working as they should.


If you are noticing unusually high energy bills, extremely hot or cold areas in your home, or mildew growing in your attic, you may need to call a professional to come out and examine it.


Be on the lookout for the signs of poor ventilation, and stop the problem in its tracks. 


5. Clean Out Your Gutters


Along with proper ventilation, gutters are one of the most important things you need to pay attention to in the winter.


If you don’t regularly clean your gutters, the built-up debris can cause blockages. Water will not be able to flow through the gutters properly, and the stagnant water will freeze.


The frozen block of ice in your gutters will increase the severity of ice dams and the likelihood of leaks. If this issue is ongoing for many years, ultimately, you will begin to see cracks in your gutters as the water expands and contracts upon freezing.


Cleaning out your gutters will help prevent ice dams and help to keep your roof at a consistent temperature throughout.


Preparing Your Roof For the Winter


The winter can be harsh on everyone – but especially your roof. Your roof has the potential to endure a lot of damage. But, there are steps you can take as a homeowner to keep your roof as protected as possible.


Doing simple tasks like cleaning your roof of snow, inspecting your roof, and cleaning out your gutters can end up saving you hundreds of dollars in the long run. By doing these tasks, you’ve lowered the chance of leaks and water damage. 


If you want to expand upon your new knowledge, you can continue your education with “Is There A ‘Best’ Time of Year To Install A New Roof” and “10 Signs You Need a Roof Replacement.”


Or, you may want to call in a roofing expert to get their opinion on your roof before the winter hits. If you live in the greater Milwaukee Area, Rescue My Roof is ready to extend our services to you.

Contact us today to book your free inspection and estimate!