We all know how temperamental British weather can be, and winter is arguably the most varied and unpredictable season of them all. Everything from frosty mornings, heavy rainfall and plummeting temperatures throughout the night all result in your roof bearing the brunt of often hostile and unforgiving weather.
Keeping your roof well maintained is vital to protect and shelter both your family and your home. Whether you have recently repaired your roof or it is in desperate need of maintenance, here are a few pointers to help you protect your roof during the winter months:
Look out for signs of damage
During the colder months, cracked and damaged gutters and tiles can cause more damage to your roof than you might first expect. Gutters will quickly fill with water, resulting in heavy ice that could cause your guttering system to come away from your home.
Equally, intrusive roots, algae, and moss can grow within broken tiles. Throw in expanding water damage, and you’ll have much bigger roofing problems later down the road to worry about. When this happens, you need to make sure that any debris, twigs, ice and snow are all removed so that your gutters and downspouts can function properly:
Making sure your gutters are in good working repair during the winter months is vital. Gutters ensure that your roof stays dry, so if they are full of debris, are blocked or have leaking joints, it may cause water damage to your home.
A simple fix is to make sure that all of the seals around the joints are watertight, as over time, they begin to disintegrate and, you’ve guessed it, cause leaks! By using a silicone sealant, small holes and cracks can be repaired. However, larger holes and more significant damage will likely need you to replace the whole section of guttering.
As long as it’s not raining, gutters can be cleaned or replaced during the winter.
Tiles & Slate
Damaged, broken, and missing tiles should be dealt with immediately; otherwise, you’ll face more significant problems further down the road. Rainwater will quickly find its way into your attic or loft space through any holes or cracks, causing damp, mould, wood rot, and worse, structural damage to your roof.
Know the difference between algae spots and moss
Although algae spots are not pleasant to look at, they are only really an aesthetic issue. Moss, on the other hand, absorbs and holds water, so it is imperative that it is removed as soon as possible.
If you spot it early enough, moss can simply be brushed away, but if it is well established, a treatment to kill it off will need to be applied to your roof. Although many effective treatments are available from your local DIY or garden centre that contain eco-friendly ingredients, it’s often a better job left for the experts.
Check your chimney
Unsurprisingly one of the most vulnerable spots on your roof is the chimney. Any cracks or small holes in the flashing can quickly allow rainwater to leak through.
One of the easiest ways to check for damage is to go straight to the source, which is typically found at the base of the chimney stack. Anything from the wind tearing the flashing straight off to classic weathering can be responsible. So make sure you make all the necessary repairs ahead of the worst of the weather where possible.
Make sure your roof is well insulated
When you have a poorly insulated roof, there are numerous problems that you may encounter, including the formation of ice dams. Essentially, if your roof is too warm, snow and ice will melt on contact and run down into your drains and gutters and then refreeze as the temperatures drop. All that refrozen water will cause a blockage that will increase in size over time.
Ice dams are no laughing matter! They have been known to bring down entire guttering systems, which is an expense most of us could do without during the festive season!
Instead, make sure your roof is well ventilated and insulated. That way, you will keep the temperature of your home well regulated, lower your energy bills and keep the cold at bay!
Cut back overhanging trees
It’s surprising how much damage a nearby branch can do to your roof. Branches that lead directly to your roof can work as a passageway for critters such as squirrels that can scrape and damage your tiles, as well as send shingles and slate flying in strong winds.
During high winds and storms, there is also an increased potential for branches to break off and cause significant damage to your roof. Plus, the shade trees provide can help moss and algae grow more efficiently - clogging up everything from drains and gutters to exposing cracks and broken tiles. The simplest solution is to cut back any overhanging trees and branches.
Winter roof replacement
Although not ideal, the majority of roofs can be replaced during the winter months as the professionals are well equipped to deal with various conditions. So if you have a metal, wooden, tiled or slate roof, you’re less likely to face many obstacles when it comes to replacement.
However, there are certain types of roofs that will not cope well with hazardous conditions, such as a flat or rubber roof. As they are made with various adhesives to hold crucial elements in place, they need warmer conditions to prevent leaks and further damage after assembly.
Don’t leave your roof maintenance and repairs until the warmer months! Act now to ensure your roof has the best protection during the winter season.