Winter is a time of year that is dreaded by many, for its cold temperatures, ice, wind and snow. And guess what? Your roof hates winter just as much! Not only is it a time when snow melts and refreezes, it is also a time when heavy winds can rip off shingles and heavy snow can pile up! In addition, many homeowners mistakenly forget to maintain their roof during the winter because they associate roof damage with heavy rain, not heavy snow or plummeting temperatures.
Here are some tips and tricks for avoiding costly winter damage:
Update Your Ventilation- Some roofs don’t have adequate ventilation in their attic space. Good attic ventilation allows any warm air that gets expelled into your attic to pass harmlessly outside, through the vents, instead of getting trapped and collecting under the roof deck. Homes that do have adequate ventilation are much less susceptible to ice dams. Meet with a roofing professional to figure out the best course of action when ventilating your home.
Check Your Exhaust Stacks- Most people don't have a clue as to where there exhaust stacks lead. Many times hot air is venting out directly into your attic, which is exactly where you don’t want it to go. That’s one of the most common reasons for a warm attic that lead to ice dams. Hire a reputable contractor to extend these exhaust stacks all the way through the roof. Better yet, ask them to insulate the stacks where they pass through your attic space.
Make Sure Your Home Is As Airtight As Possible- There are many places in your home that hot air can pass through to your attic. Ideally, you would have no hot air pass through and your attic temperature would be the same as the outside air temperature. An easy way to check to see what is going on with your home temperature situation is to put a thermometer in the attic and compare it to the house temperature vs. the outside temperature.
Install Ice And Water Shielding- Having an experienced roofer install professional ice and water shielding is the best way that you can avoid costly future problems. And don't skimp! Just doing the "problem areas" can turn out to be a real problem in the future!
Upgrade Your R-Value- Simply put, your "R-Value" is your "resistance value", or the rating for how insulated your home is. Obviously you want this value to be as high as possible. Upping this value just a bit can have huge benefits and it can pay for itself. Have a professional help you survey your situation, and up your R-Value.
Get The Snow Off Of Your Roof!- If you tend to get a lot of snow accumulation on top of your roof, now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to get it off- NOT when a storm occurs! If it is safe enough, buy a roof rake and rake your roof after it accumulates about 4 inches. If you are only worried about the roof collapsing, you can wait longer than 4" of accumulation, but snow is heavy. The deeper the snow, the harder it is to rake, so rake early and often.