With winter weather on the horizon, it is important to make sure your home and its roof are ready for winter's snow and ice. Here are some recommendations to protect your roof from leaks and ice dam formation and its related damage.
Examine Your Current Shingles
If your roof is in need of repairs to replace shingles that have broken or are missing, depending on the amount of damage, it may be time to replace all the shingles. If you choose to replace the shingles, remove the old shingles and the roofing under-layer so you can install an adhesive-attached water and ice barrier along the bottom three to six feet of your roof's edge. This protects your roof decking from moisture damage that can occur from ice dam formation and is recommended when you live in a northern climate.
If your roof has select areas of damage, you can replace the damaged shingles to keep your roofing layers protected. Try to complete the repairs during sunny weather, which will warm and soften the shingles, which makes them more pliable and less likely to crack.
Use a putty knife or a pry bar to carefully lift up the shingle positioned above the damaged one to remove the roofing nails and the damaged shingle. Each shingle will be attached with two rows of nails: one row through its center and another row through its top. The top layer of roofing nails will also be inserted through the shingle above it, so take care you don't damage the above-positioned shingle when you remove them to free the broken shingle. Slip a new shingle into the space where the damaged one was located, securing it with two rows of new roofing nails.
Prevent Ice Dam Formation
Another way to protect your roof from winter weather is to prevent the formation of ice dams by installing roof-top additions. First, you can install an electrical heating cable along the edge of your roof to melt any build-up of ice. Ice dams form at the edge of your roof when the heat from your home warms your roof and melts the snow so it flows to the roof's cold edge to re-freeze into layers of ice. Electrical heating cables attached onto your roof in a zig-zag pattern can be turned on when ice forms to prevent the heavy layers of ice build-up.
If you do not have heating cables and have had ice dams already form, fill a stocking with rock salt and lay it on your roof over the ice dam. The rock salt will melt a trench through the ice dam and allow further melted snow to run from the roof without freezing and adding to the ice dam's layers.
Make sure your attic space is well insulated to keep the heat of your home from escaping into the attic space. Access your attic crawlspace and make sure the insulation on the attic floor is filling the spaces between each joist. Rolled batting insulation can often shift and move in the attic, revealing gaps between the joist and the attic floor where heat from your home can seep into the attic. Talk to an insulation specialist about supplementing your attic insulation or installing blow-in insulation, which expands to seal all gaps and cracks in the attic floor.
Check for gaps and cracks around the attic access hatch, electrical openings, around the chimney vents, and in any HVAC ventilation ducts. Any small opening around these areas can allow heat to enter. Fill them yourself with caulk or spray-foam insulation from a can.
If you think you might need a new roof, contact a company like Leon Construction.