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  • Writer's pictureElite Roofing

How to Winterize and Prepare Your Roof for Winter

Winter is coming sooner than you know, which is why now's the time to start preparing for the upcoming cold weather and eventually snow! Many homeowners may check doors and windows to make sure heat cannot escape or check to make sure their hot water heater/home heating system is working properly. Yet, many homeowners tend to overlook the quality and condition of their roofs when preparing to winterize their homes, which can lead to issues such as heat insulation or water damage from melting ice and snow. Your roof is your first line of defense against harsh winter conditions; it's important to make sure it's in its best condition to protect your home from the cold! Here are some tips on how to weatherize and prepare your roof for the Winter:

1. Inspect Your Roof: When beginning to prepare for the winter, it is important to know the quality of your roof; are there any minor damages or weak spots that may be affected by snow or ice? Although you may be able to visibly spot damages on your roof from the ground, this is the time where you should take a closer look safely with a ladder, which will aid in the prevention of any damages or future costly repairs. In the event that you are unable to check yourself, many companies offer annual roof maintenance and/or inspections to keep you informed of the condition of your roof.

2. Check for Physical Damage: After closely inspecting your roof, you’ll want to look for any noticeable physical damage. Some examples to look out for can be missing shingles, stains, rotting, or holes, which indicates that your roof may need repairs before the winter weather sets in. Even small, minor damages can easily become expensive repairs when untreated before the Winter.

3. Clean Your Gutters: Just as you should regularly maintain and clean your gutters, it is especially important to focus on the draining conditions of your gutters in the Winter. Gutters that are clogged with leaves and other debris not only cause issues with proper drainage, but water may eventually pool up on the roof, causing ice blocks to form. Ice blocks are specifically an issue because as they begin to freeze, they expand and cause major cracks within the roof and even the foundation of your home. By keeping your gutters clear, especially in the winter, melting snow and ice are able to properly drain without issues.

4. Check for Greenery or Overhanging Plants/Branches: Although overhanging branches and other greenery may not seem like a huge concern, they are important to trim before the snow arrives. Snow carries a lot of weight, which can eventually fall onto trees and branches, causing these plants to break off onto your roof which may cause major damage. By taking these preventive measures, you are saving yourself time and money.

5. Check for Pest Damage: Damages from pests can sometimes be hard to spot, but it is important to closely inspect your roof for any physical issues. In the Winter, any holes or cracks within your roof can easily become a warm home for birds and other animals/insects. Minor issues caused by animals/insects can eventually lead to seemingly unnecessary, yet costly repairs.

6. Check Your Attic or Roof Crawl Space: Just as checking the condition of your roof, your attic or roof crawl space is just as important. There are certain indications of damage from the roof that is easy to spot, such as clumping within the insulation which can indicate water damage. It is important to make sure water does not sit within the foundation of your roof as this can eventually lead to issues with mold or mildew if not properly ventilated. Checking the attic or roof crawl space can also indicates any insulation issues in terms of retaining heat, which is necessary for the colder months.

7. Check Your Flashing and Caulking: Although this may not be so obvious to the common person, many professionals are able to tell you if your roof will have any issues in the Winter based on your roofs flashing and/or caulking. When examining your roof, be sure to check for any wrinkles or tears within the caulking, and any loose or missing flashings. Although minor, these two things are necessary for the proper functioning of your roof.

8. Check Your Chimney: Many older homes still have functioning wood-burning chimneys that can offer substantial help in heating your home, but can also be dangerous if left unkempt for several years. You’ll want to make sure your chimney is free from any pests, debris, and most importantly, Creosote. Creosote is the black or brown residue that forms as a result of wood-burning fires inside a fireplace. Creosote buildup also increases when the air supply is restricted in the chimney, unseasoned wood is used to make a fire, and when the chimney temperature is cooler than normal. It is also important to note that creosote is highly flammable and can lead to home fires. It is ideal to check your chimney before using it for the season in order to prevent possible disasters; since it's on/attached to the roof, you can inspect it during your roof inspections.

9. Get a Professionals Help and/or Opinions: In the event that you are unsure of any damages or simply would like a second opinion from a professional, there are many companies that can aid in the weatherization of your roof. It is always recommended to get in contact with a roofing specialist as they are able to offer further advice on your specific roofing conditions.

Now that you know these steps/tips for winterizing your roof, you can begin to prepare for the upcoming Winter weather early! Need more help or want professional advice? Reach out to us here at Elite at (201)436-1011, or send us an email at with any further questions, or to schedule a roof inspection. We’re always glad to help, and look forward to assisting you with your next project!

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