As the winter sets in, homeowners need to pay special attention to their roofing shingles to ensure they’re in good enough shape to withstand harsh weather events such as snowstorms. If your roof is already worn down, the freezing and thawing of ice can worsen the damage. Ice dams are another common winter struggle. In this blog post, we’ll explore some top winter maintenance tips for keeping your roofing shingles in great condition all year long.

Get your roofing shingles inspected

We recommend getting a thorough roof inspection on an annual basis to identify small issues and potential vulnerabilities before they become more severe. You may think that if you don’t notice any problems with your roof, everything must be fine. But that’s unfortunately not the case. Some issues are practically invisible to the untrained eye or just can’t be spotted unless you get up on your roof, which is not recommended due to safety concerns. 

However, if you wish you can still do an initial inspection to determine whether there are any obvious problems. To do so, take a walk around the property and look out for any irregularities such as dripping water, animal nests or discoloration. You can use binoculars to get a closer look or even take pictures with a drone if you have one. While you’re out there, also check the state of your gutters.

If you have an attic, it’s also advisable to go up there and check to be sure there are no signs of damage. It’s an especially good idea to take a look around after a heavy rainstorm, since that is the moment that a leak would be most easy to spot. 

Reduce the risk of ice dams

Ice dams pose a significant threat to your roofing shingles throughout the cold months. In fact, they’re one of the leading causes of wintertime roof damage. The most effective way to prevent the formation of ice dams is by ensuring that the inner part of your roof is adequately insulated so that it maintains a consistent temperature. If heat from your house is transferred to your roof, snow and ice will melt and refreeze near the gutters, causing ice dams. 

On the other hand, it’s also crucial for attics to have an efficient ventilation system in order to maintain a uniform temperature on the roof. Ventilation also serves the purpose of preventing the buildup of humidity, therefore reducing the risk of mold growth. 

Last but not least, you should always clear out your gutters and downspouts, as a buildup of debris is likely to contribute to ice dam formation and subsequent roof damage. Clearing out gutters is especially important if your yard gets covered in fallen leaves in autumn, since twigs and leaves are the most likely culprit when it comes to wintertime clogs. Once you’ve cleared the debris, installing gutter guards is one way that you can make maintenance easier in the future.

Repair or replace damaged roofing shingles

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised at how many people put off repairing their shingles because they believe that if the damage is minor, that means it can wait. But small cracks in shingles will only get more serious with time, and this is especially true in the wintertime since low temperatures tend to make roofing materials more brittle and susceptible to damage. 

To extend the lifespan of your roof, we recommend getting damaged shingles fixed or replaced as soon as the problem comes to your attention (likely during your annual inspection). The good news is that fixing minor problems such as hairline cracks is a simple job that won’t set you back too much financially. 

To repair cracked roofing shingles, roofers will generally apply a generous amount of sealant under the damaged area, put pressure on the shingle to fix it into place, then apply another layer of the sealant on top of the crack. This repair is very convenient and cost-effective since it doesn’t involve buying new shingles. 

Final thoughts 

By following the steps described above, you can safeguard your home from the challenges that winter brings and have greater peace of mind all season long. If you need help with a home improvement project, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. 

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