Prepare Your Roof for a Winter Storm
Each winter season brings colder temperatures and the possibility of severe winter storms. Keeping your home and roof prepared for extreme winter weather is important for any homeowner living in an area that experiences heavy amounts of snow and/or high winds.
Inspect the roof before the storm hits
Storms during the winter months vary from moderate, fluffy accumulations to blizzards that last for days on end and come with freezing rain, ice, and plummeting temperatures. If you have adequate warning and some free time, it may be worth inspecting your roof and making small adjustments before a major storm hits.
If you’re confident in your ability to perform these tasks safely, inspect these areas of the roof before the storm hits.
Remember that winter roofs are extremely dangerous, so it’s best to either inspect what you can from the ground or hire a trained professional.
Check roof shingles, shutters, siding, and gutters to ensure they’re fastened securely.
Remove leaves, sticks, and other forms of debris from the gutters.
Trim overhanging tree branches that may snap off due to ice and snow.
Check insulation for water infiltration, as wet or damaged insulation can cause heating costs to skyrocket (not to mention cause mold growth).
Replace sealant around antennas, chimneys, or plumbing stacks, as old sealants quickly crack under severe storms.
High winds, ice, hail, and drastic amounts of snow from winter storms can strip off shingles, gutters, and siding, exposing your home to serious moisture damage. That’s why it’s important to double-check that all roofing components are secured. And if gutters aren’t cleared, you risk the chance of ice dams on your roof.
Take a look around the attic
There is one aspect of your roof you can safely inspect before the storm comes, and that’s the attic.
Ideally, before winter even begins, you should check that your attic has ample and equal amounts of insulation throughout so that heat stays inside your house.
This not only prevents heat from leaking outside the home and causing your energy bills to climb, but it also helps keep heat from escaping through the attic and out of the roof, which may lead to ice dams.
Gather adequate supplies in case you’re snowed in
Preparing your roof for severe winter storms is highly important, but it's crucial to make sure you have adequate supplies inside your home in case the power goes out, or if the weather is so bad you can't leave.
If a major winter storm is approaching, you should gather necessities to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Ensure you have a snow shovel, snow blower, or other equipment to clear away snow. Rock salt is also quite handy to melt ice on steps and driveways.
Power outages are common with blizzards and ice storms, so stack firewood if you have a wood burning stove or fireplace; or, if you have one, prep your generator with plenty of fuel.
Stock up on canned food and bottled water in case the storm is bad enough to warrant staying indoors.
Keep extra batteries, flashlights, candles, blankets, and matches on hand to prepare for a long period without power.
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Avoid dangerous situations and wait it out
If a severe storm or huge drop in temperature is headed your way, hold off on serious roof cleaning projects. A recently-washed roof could create ice dams, leading to water infiltration.
To avoid ice dams and further problems, wait until the weather clears and warms up.
It’s a good idea to hire a professional to handle a majority of these winter roof projects. Severe storms create hazardous conditions which can be extremely dangerous, so you should avoid climbing on top of your roof at all costs.