The harsh weather of winter can place a severe strain on the structure of your home, and it's usually the roof that bears the brunt. Heavy storms have an obvious potential for damage, but it's not just these dramatic events that pose a danger. Over the course of a long winter, the build-up of snow on your roof can present a high risk of damage, but with a little care, disaster can be avoided. Here's how to help ensure your roof deals with the worst the season's weather can throw at it.
Give Your Roof a Full Health Check
If your roof is fairly old and hasn't been checked in some time, or if you've recently moved into a property and are unsure about its maintenance history, then consider booking a full health check using a qualified and experienced roofing contractor. Any problems should be fixed as quickly as possible, even minor ones, before the bad weather arrives and puts weaknesses under greater strain.
Check the Coating and Sealing
Even if you're confident your roof is in good structural health, it's wise to give the coating and sealing a thorough check over to make sure there are no gaps where melted snow can get in. You may not notice small defects during a typical rain shower, when any water ingress probably drains harmlessly away. However, when spring comes and a large amount of snow melts in a short time, problems will be more likely to show up and risk damaging the interior of your home through flooding.
Call in Reinforcements
If you're not fully confident in the integrity of your roof and its ability to withstand a heavy snowfall, then consider having its structure reinforced. Adding extra support to the joists need not cost too much, and will give a substantial boost to your roof's strength.
Hire a Maintenance Firm
If you live in an area with predictable and extended snowfall, then it can make sense to hire a roofing company to regularly clear the build-up before it becomes a problem. You could buy the necessary tools to do this yourself, but the combination of height, ice, and inclement weather means that keeping your own roof clear is fraught with danger. Also, inexperienced clearance efforts risk causing damage, so employing an expert may be a smarter, safer move.
Keep an Eye on Snow Levels- and Weight
Lastly, although your roof may be rated to handle a certain depth of snow accumulation, be aware that freshly fallen snow weighs much less per volume than older falls, which will have become compacted under their own weight. Old snow can easily weigh twice that of fresh powder, and by the end of the season, your roof could be supporting a far greater weight than you'd guess from the appearance. If the snow in your yard is heavily compacted and hard, the chances are it is on your roof as well, and it might be wise to arrange for it to be cleared to relieve some pressure.
When it comes to your roof, out of sight is often out of mind. However, this vital part of your home's structure can only take so much punishment from the weather, and the consequences of it failing are often catastrophic. Now's the time to make sure your roof is in good enough condition to withstand the rigors of winter before the season has the chance to do its worst.