Best Roof Maintenance Tips for New Jersey Winters
To help you prepare for the harsh New Jersey winter weather conditions, here are some helpful tips to follow when maintaining the integrity of your roof.
With the average temperature in our area of New Jersey during January being around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, undoubtedly we experience several months of very cold days during the winter. Not only is it cold, but this area also encounters frozen precipitation that can wreak havoc. From snow and sleet to rain that freezes when it touches surfaces like roads, driveways, and roofs, we endure it in New Jersey.
The key is to be prepared for this wintry weather. It is critically important to take preemptive action in order to keep your roof in shape so it can withstand the elements and remain undamaged. While you are busy shoveling snow and salting ice on driveways and sidewalks, you don’t need the additional task of dealing with a roof that sprouts leaks due to snow and ice
At Allied Roofing Solutions, your New Jersey roofers, we get many calls during the winter to repair leaking roofs from snow and ice damage. To help you be ready for what weather may come, we have put together some tips to follow when maintaining your roof in the winter.
Before Bad Weather Hits
Before the harsh weather hits, you should put your eyes on the state of your roof. The roof is the barrier between your family and the weather, so you want to be sure it is functioning well and capable of keeping you warm and dry all winter long. By taking a few easy steps, you can avoid winter roofing problems before the cold weather sets in.
Put Eyes on Your Roofline
One of the first steps you should take when preparing the roof for winter is to look at your roofline. The lines of your roof should be straight. If you see signs of dipping, curving, or sagging you should investigate further. Sagging rooflines can indicate framing issues or rotten wood. During the winter, your roof is exposed to heavy rain and snowfall causing stress that can cause a sagging roof to sag more or even cave in. If the sagging roof has caused a leak, call a professional who can perform a roof inspection and assess what repairs are needed.
Check Chimney Flashing
Take note of the area around chimneys and other protrusions. This is where you will see the flashing, which is one of the most common sections for roof leaks to occur. A leaky flashing is many times mistaken for a leaky roof. Look at the flashing to be sure that it isn’t loose or damaged and that the caulk is doing its job. Additionally, check to see any signs of water encroachment around flashing areas.
Remove Debris from the Roof and Gutters
During the fall, trees shed their leaves and other dirt and debris collect on the roof and gutters. Those piles of debris can cause a mess if left on the roof and gutters all winter. When piles of leaves and such get waterlogged on the roof, they can leave your roof at risk to water damage. You can easily remove the debris with a leaf blower or with your hands. Be sure to check behind chimneys where debris accumulates.
Gutters also catch and accumulate debris and leaves. Be sure to clean the gutters out completely to avoid clogs and therefore allow water from rain and melted snow to flow freely off the roof.
Go Up to the Attic
Check the attic for signs of leaks from the roof. Any water spots on walls, roof decking, rafters, and attic floors are sure indications of a leaky roof. If you find any evidence of a leak, call a professional to conduct a roof inspection so you can get it in tip-top shape before the winter weather ensues.
During Bad Weather
As winter weather hits, be on the lookout for the amount of snow and ice that accumulates on the roof. You will need to be aware of the roof situation to keep it in shape to withstand the precipitation that falls.
Most roofs are built to support heavy loads of snow without having any problems. However, you never know how much snow will be dumped on your house by Mother Nature. It is recommended to remove snow from your roof if you have six inches or more of snow. This amount of snow allows ice dams to form.
You can examine the home’s interior to help determine if the snow on your roof is excessive and could be problematic. Check the doors on the top floor that are closest to the center of the house. If you notice that they are sticking or becoming harder to open and close, you may have a snow weight problem that needs to be handled quickly. Also, check the frames of the same doors for cracks in the plaster or drywall. This is highly unlikely unless you have an old home that was built prior to today’s construction codes or if the house was renovated without a permit (for instance, a weight-bearing wall was removed). If you see these signs around upstairs doors, you could experience roof collapse if not corrected quickly.
If you see any signs of too much weight on the roof, don’t let snow accumulation stay on the roof too long. Snow and ice are heavy and even a few inches create a load for the roof to bear. Remove snow as quickly as possible to prevent severe roof damage. The safest way to remove snow from your roof is to stand on the ground and use a tool like a roof rake to pull the snow down.
Keep an Eye Out for Ice
Large icicles form when the temperature fluctuates from normal to freezing. Icicles can form on the edge of your roof and can be dangerous if located where people are walking underneath. Ice is heavy, like snow, and can lead to ice dams. An ice dam forms when water has flowed from the roof towards the gutters and then the temperature drops overnight, freezing in and around the guttering. This causes a backup of any water trying to run off of the roof. This water also freezes and all of this results in damage to your shingles and ultimately causes leaks. Read our article "How Ice Dams Can Damage Your Roof" for more information.
Install Heaters for Roofs and Gutters
Professionals can install equipment that prevents icicles from forming. Rope heaters on the roof and in gutters are effective in keeping snow and ice from accumulating and damaging the roof.
There are also heating systems designed for solar panels that warm the frozen precipitation. Some use small hoses or pipes through which warm water runs, others use electrical wires or coils that attach to the panels and warm the snow and ice.
Contact Us for Roof Inspections and Repairs During Winter Weather
If you suspect your roof needs maintenance before the winter weather hits, contact our team at Allied Roofing Solutions! We can inspect your roof for potential troubles resulting from snow and ice. And, after the winter precipitation comes, our professionals are ready to diagnose and correct any problems you think you may have. Contact us to schedule a free estimate for a roof inspection and repairs. We serve New Jersey residents in Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Somerset County. Call us at (201) 773-0633 or complete our easy-to-use contact form to schedule a free estimate. Let us help you protect your home from roof leaks in the harsh winter months.