How to Prepare Your Roof for Winter: All You Need To Know

Gone are the warm summer days when the sun beats down and we had BBQs in the backyard. We have moved indoors to keep warm and the roof over our heads literally keeps the weather out.


Now is the time to think about our roofs and the colder weather that approaches. As we await heavy snowstorms and icy hail, we need to prepare our roofs for the upcoming season. You shouldn’t have to worry about your roof during the winter. By following these precautionary steps, your roof will be in great condition, even if Santa parks his sleigh on it.

Here is a to-do list for winterizing your roof.

Cut Back Trees and Branches

Our trees love the sun and grow fast over the year. Branches can reach over the top of the roofline. While that is fine in June, it’s a hazard in December. As the snow comes, it can weigh down branches until they make contact with your roof. Worse, they can break off and do significant damage. You don’t want to be climbing on top of the house to make repairs when it’s freezing and wet.

In the fall, inspect your trees to see where potential threats are. Cut back dangerous branches and make sure no part of the tree can touch the house. This will save you when the arctic weather arrives.

Flat Roofs

If your home or business has a flat roof, you need to take care of it before winter. Your roofline may be lower than adjacent buildings, so snow could build up on your roof because of drift. This can only add to the problem. Make sure to properly clean your roof of all debris that could get washed into drains and scuppers.

A flat roof has a special membrane, and you don’t want anything to puncture it. Make sure any nearby trees can’t affect it. If there is any damage, ask a flat roofing company to fix it before the wet weather comes.

Roof and Gutter Cleaning

Before the snow comes, it’s time to get rid of all debris on your roof. This material can be blown around and cause permanent damage to the roofing material and gutters. You don’t want to create any new problems if you can avoid them.

Before the snow comes, it’s time to get rid of all debris on your roof. This material can be blown around and cause permanent damage to the roofing material and gutters. You don’t want to create any new problems if you can avoid them.

Check for Animals

Any accumulation of leaves and other foliage can be a winter home for rodents, birds and insects and you don’t want them taking up residence on your roof. Look in gutters and under soffits and remove them and their homes. Also, check around fireplaces and in the roof valleys. Don’t worry, they will set up a new home elsewhere, just not on your roof.

Roof Inspection

While cleaning your roof, it’s the perfect time to give a close inspection to look for any damage. Check out drains, gutters, flashing and roofing material for signs of wear or leaks. If you need to put new sealant or calking in places, take care of it. Make repairs as necessary to the roof itself or call in the professionals to get it taken care of. You may have to spend some money, but it’s much better to handle it now before the weather turns for the worse.

Check Attic Insulation and Ventilation

You want to have a warm, dry house during the cold winter, so making sure the attic is properly insulated and vented is key. This will also help your roof out too. The warm attic will keep your roofing cold and prevent things like ice dams that may cause damage. They can tear off shingles and gutters.

In turn, the damage allows water to leak into the house’s interior. Water damage is bad and repairs can be costly, especially during the winter months when roofing companies charge more.

Inspect the Chimney

The fireplace chimney travels through the roof system and vents out. Since it cuts through the roofing material, metal flashing and rubber membrane are usually used to make a seal and direct water away. Have a close look at all components to the roof around the chimney to make sure water can’t find its way inside.

Also, inspect the brick to see if any are loose. In heavy winds, they can start flying around and knocking holes in the roofing.

Holiday Decorations

Part of preparing your roof for winter is putting up your light strings. It can be a dangerous job, and the longer you wait to do it, the more slippery it might become. Take advantage of your ladder access and start your holiday decorations early. Everything you put on the roof can be done in advance and then you are ready to plug it in when the time is right. Then when the holidays arrive, you can sit back and relax!

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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