Preparing Your Roof for Fall and Winter

Preparing Your Roof for Fall and Winter. Fall is here, and winter is on the horizon. Therefore, it is time to plan and carry out those necessary home improvement projects before weather changes. Maybe, the first thing you should put on your list is your roof. 

Regardless of where you live, it may be in Portland or Salt Lake City. You can hurt your roof and your home if you don’t prepare them properly for the harsh conditions they are up to face. Besides, you can cause your family an uncomfortable season. 

To guide you on avoiding roofing issues, we grouped some roofing experts from around the country. They weighed in some of the most commonly asked roofing questions. So, read on to know if your roof is prepared to withstand what Mother Nature has for it.

Preparing Your Roof for Fall and Winter

When is the ideal time of year to have my roof worked on?

The best seasons of the year to replace roofs are spring, summer, and fall. The reasons seem obvious if you think about the weather conditions. 

For working properly, asphalt shingles require activating their self-sealing feature. Direct sunlight plays a critical role in this theme. When firmly sealed, asphalt shingles protect your home against rain, wind, and snow.

Your shingles will seal enough before the worst weather conditions arrive by installing them between spring and mid-fall. That’s why we recommend installing your new roof when the sun shines brightest.

Can We Perform Roofing Work In Cold Weather?

Early fall is still a good moment to perform little roofing repairs. However, even in this period, any roofing job will require dry, sunny conditions. This way, the work carried out will offer good results.   

Cold, snowy weather can impede your shingles bonding enough. Roofing materials under freezing temperatures tend to crack and be brittle. Besides, remind how much unsafe it is getting up to a roof whit a layer of ice on it.

Are you trying to get your new roof installed right before the winter? We strongly recommend carrying your roofing project out between September and early November at the latest. Thus, you should avoid early snowstorms. – Kris Werner. Werner Roofing

How long will it take to install a new roof?

Several factors influence the time required to install a new roof. 

First, we must consider the size of the roof. Contractors measure the surface of a roof in 100-square-feet blocks. For instance, 30 squares would equal (3,000/100) of a 3,000 square foot roof. 

In the second place, there is the roofing material that you will replace. It is faster to replace asphalt shingles than a metal or tile roof.

Lastly, we have to consider the complexity of the roof. It is not the same to replace a flat roof as having to deal with chimneys, skylights, and a multi-sloped roof.

Once you determine these factors, you and your roofer can estimate the time the roof replacement will take. 

We’ll give you some examples so you can have some references.

A 30-square, simple design asphalt roof can require 6 to 7 hours. But, if it has several protuberances, it can take between 10 to 12 hours. When it comes to standing seam metal roofs, you can require 3 or 4 days if it has a simple design. In case it is complex, your roofer may need a week or more. Usually, tile and slate roofing materials have similar installation times to these metal roofs.

Can I stay in my house while replacing my roof?

Noise is not an issue for you? If so, as long as you take some necessary precautions, you can stay in your house while your roofer does his job. 

Likewise, keep in mind that shingles or debris could fall from the roof when leaving or entering your house. Also, be cautious when walking around the house during the roof replacement because nails may fall in the grass, and it is hard to spot them. 

In this sense, professional roofers take every precaution to avoid injures, such as collecting fallen nails with magnets. Besides, they collect any debris at specific points. 

In any building site, it is always important to be careful. – Chris Baker, President of Baker Roofing & Construction, Inc.

How long can I expect my new roof system to last?

The materials and workmanship used in a new roof determine how long it will last. So, your new roof will last for decades if you care about it with common sense and regular maintenance. It doesn’t matter the roofing material you use. 

Here are three factors to keep in mind before comparing materials:

  1. Proper installation is essential for your roofing system to last over time. The cost of installing a roof improperly is high. Thus, you should hire a professional contractor.
  2. The life spans of the roofing materials are different. Likewise, some materials suit better the climate of the area where you live than others. Some materials are better for storm-prone areas, and other work better in areas exposed to intense solar radiation. So, choose the right material for your region and home’s style.
  3. Those things that get regular checks and proper maintenance last longer than those whose owners forget. Usually, this is what happens to roofs. Seasonal inspections like those after hurricanes can lead to identifying issues before they scale becoming significant damage. By removing debris such as leaves and branches regularly, you’ll avoid pooling and roofing damage. Also, you’ll protect the underlayment, avoiding mold and other issues. 

Under normal conditions and with proper care, the common roofing materials have the following typical life spans:

  • Asphalt or composite shingles 20-30 years, premium brands up to 50
  • Wood/cedar shakes 30 years
  • Cement or clay tiles 100+ years
  • Slate 75-100+ years
  • Copper 70+ years
  • Metal 40-80+ years

Modern roofing products can imitate classic roofing materials like wood or cedar. However, they can last longer and are more fire-resistant.

Is it normal for a new roof to lose granules?

Usually, you can see some granules in your yard or the gutters after an asphalt shingle roof installation. During the production process, manufacturers use to add more granules than required to warrant the total saturation of the granule layer. So, don’t worry, commonly  rain washes away the surplus granules. Usually, the process will come to a halt on its own. 

Nevertheless, if the loss persists after many months, or the roof appears damaged or has changed its color, contact your installer to have him evaluate the problem. If there’s a flaw, the manufacturer’s warranty should cover it. – Tom Romney, President of Prestige Roofing

How can I extend the life of my roofing system?

By extending the life of your roof, you can save thousands of dollars. Begin with routine inspections. This way, you can spot if your roof needs any small repair before it escalates into a larger repair or possibly a new roof.

Watching some TV some weeks ago, I looked at a commercial roof with a small part of roofing material blow off. We observed that a much larger section was ready to blow away due to the wind. Before the roof got more damage, we were able to secure it. 

On a residential roof can occur a similar situation. Shingles help each other to protect your roof, sealing to the shingle above and below. If the wind blows off one row of shingles, the wind can hit under the next shingle blowing off a complete portion of the roof.

In any scenario, safety is an essential aspect, even more, when working at a high altitude. Therefore, a key factor in doing roof inspections is to stay safe. Roofers dedicate a significant amount of time discussing and training on safety procedures.  After all, it is not for everyone to climb onto a roof. 

Occasionally, you can observe damage to a roof from the front or back yard. However, you might overlook issues that you wouldn’t see unless you were on the roof. Although this is a worst-case situation, I’ve seen broken limbs. 

Therefore, not everyone can be on a roof. Let this job to the professionals.

Yet, when looking for a roofing professional inspecting your roof, evaluate its online reviews. Also, check if they provide their crew Workman’s Compensation Insurance. Verify these things before they get up on your roof. You don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s medical expenses. – Neil Cagle, President of All American Roofing, Inc.

What steps should you take to prepare your roof for the winter months if you live in a warmer climate?

1. Keep Your Roof Clean

Cleaning your gutters is something you must perform regularly. Besides, you should always keep branches, leaves, pine needles, and other debris away from your roof. Even tiny particles and mounds of debris can rot or mold. Over time, it will cause your roof to fail.  

2. Check Your Roof for Damage and Deterioration

Is your roof already clean and debris-free? Now, check the entire roofing surface and every element of your roofing system. Here’s what you should look for: 

  • Seek for curling, broken, or missing shingles. Make sure you have them replaced. 
  • Also, verify the flashing shape around roof protuberances such as chimneys, skylights, and vent pipes. To avoid rainwater and moisture getting into your house, make sure they are completely sealed.   
  • Leaves and debris will accumulate in your gutters and downspouts over time. Hence, only if you know how to work over a roof and using the necessary safety equipment you can:
    • Employing a hose, wash out your gutters and flush water through your downspouts. When finding difficult obstructions use a chimney brush or a broom handle. Don’t forget to clean debris and dirt at the end of the pipe since it can accumulate there.
    • Installing leaf guards in your gutters is a good solution to avoid debris clogging your drainage system. Likewise, downspouts extensions allow directing water away from your home’s walls and foundation.

Finally, if your asphalt shingle roof is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it. – Republic Roofing & Restoration.

Will I need to replace my skylights and gutters at the same time as my roof?

Your ultimate objective always must be to protect your home. To achieve this goal effectively, you need to ensure your roofing system’s integrity. This means replacing elements like skylights together with the rest of your roof. Besides, our workmanship warranty will cover your whole roof. Give your roof a completely new, nice appeal replacing both shingles and skylights. 

Experience has taught us that the little money you save by not replacing old skylights does not worth the risk. Repairing future leaks through these old elements can be costly.

On the other hand, gutters are a different story. Since they are not one of the elements of the roof surface, it is not mandatory to replace them along with the roof. 

Installing at the same time a new roof and new gutters saves time and money. By doing so, you also ensure that the same workmanship warranty will protect both systems. Besides, they will look fantastic together. However, if you need a new replacement but your existing gutters are still functional and nice-looking, you don’t have to replace them until necessary. – Daniel Southwell, Marketing Director of Joyland Roofing

What are the best ways to prevent winter ice-related issues from happening to my roof?

The accumulation of ice and snow on steep-sloped roofs receives the name of ice damming. It happens when the snow melts on your roof, and then it freezes again. When the weather gets colder, water penetrates any small crack in your shingles, filtering into the roof structure. Then, when refreezing, it expands, lifting the shingles. Consequently, roof leaks will appear, and your insulation will suffer damage.

Keeping your roof cold is the solution to avoid ice-dams and other roofing issues. During winter, there will be a difference in temperature between the air outside and your home inside. This factor contributes to generating ice issues. 

Hence, before the winter arrives, ensure your roof is properly insulated. Also, find and seal any fissure through which cold air may seep in.  

Are you planning to install a new roof? Consider installing ice and weather shield under your new shingles. This layer is a protective barrier against water damage. 

You can install an ice and weather shield at least 24 inches into the warm wall. For maximum protection, you can install it six feet high along the gutter edge and three feet wide down the center of roof valleys. This product will help avoid leaks by wind-driven rain and ice damming. – Mike Ward owner Republic Roofing & Restoration in Collierville, TN. Call today at 901-295-6683.