If you're new to Minnesota and snow storms, brace yourself. Legendary amounts of snow fall everywhere.
Brace your roof, too. This autumn, take the following six steps to winterize the top of your home and avoid winter home emergencies.
1. Inspect the Works Up Above
You'll soon be joining your fellow Minnesotans as they winterize their homes in the most vital of yearly survival rituals. Your roof should be one of your main areas of concern when winterizing.
Your roof must be able to valiantly support an insane amount of snow. If you come from Texas or California, you must experience this snow firsthand to understand the complexities of it.
Snow is heavy and wet. If you have loose shingles or flashing on your roof, melting snow drains into the open spots directly onto the framing of your roof. Water can seep throughout the underlayment, soaking all of the decking. Eventually, the roof decking may rot or collapse.
It's best to let professionals inspect your roof. There are many components on a roof that you may not realize are missing or inadequate. You do not want to face 80 inches of snow with a "maybe it will work" roofing solution.
Complex roofs with many dormers, gables or other features must be inspected thoroughly before winter comes. Other areas that must be checked include:
Plumbing vent stacks
Skylights and sun tubes
It's a good idea to have your contractor check all of the gutters and trim. These features should be securely and properly attached to the roof framing. If not, icicles and ice dams can easily jar gutters and cause them to crash to the ground.
2. Have the Trees Trimmed for the Season
Check around your home for overhanging limbs or diseased trees that might not survive a heavy snow load. Large dead limbs wreak havoc on roofs during snow and ice storms.
Have your tree service trim any overhanging limbs. Have the trees checked for overall health.
3. Clean Up the Messes on Top
The last thing you want on your roof is a pile of rotting leaves under a fat layer of seeping snow. Your roof should be swept clean prior to the start of snow season. Small branches, nests, Frisbees and other debris should be removed from the roof.
The gutters must be functioning at top capacity to deal with melting snow throughout the spring thaw. Have the gutters thoroughly cleaned so they flow smoothly. The pitch and connections of your gutters are also keys to reliable water diversion when the snow melts.
4. Repair the Openings for Optimum Survival
Wherever flashing is loose, bent or missing, have it reinstalled. Broken vents should be repaired. Any roof component listed above needs to be repaired if it's rotting or damaged. Pest damage due to chewing or pecking must also be dealt with, and some deterrent must be put in place.
Check all decking, rafters and trusses under the roof to be sure the wood is stable and fasteners are in place. The roof must be able to hold up a certain amount of weight to comply with most building codes. Damaged framing or decking must be repaired before winter.
Insulate your attic to keep heat from escaping off of your roof. Snow is less likely to melt and then refreeze. When the snow melts and refreezes over and over, ice dams and other problems result.
The positive side to protecting your roof with attic insulation is the way your home will stay much warmer when the temperatures go low. Your contractor can suggest other ways to winterize your roof and help you stay cozier through a long winter. Each home has its own individual roofing quirks, but they must all be addressed before the cold season comes.
5. Seal Everything Well Against the Coming Flakes
Funny how delicate those lovely individual snowflakes are. When you throw a few of them together and they melt, snowflakes can invade the smallest leak or crack in your roof's armor.
All of the roofing components listed above should be sealed at the point where roof material meets component. There are all sorts of gaskets, glues and other materials to seal both the decking and the top surface of your roof. Products are made to work around chimneys, vents and skylights.
Your contractor has proven methods and materials to seal the vulnerable spots. Every place you have sealed before winter is a leak you won't need to fret over in spring.
6. Assemble the Tools to Fight the Storm
Most homeowners in snowy regions of the U.S. have tricks and tips to remove snow from their roofs and carports. Snow rakes, brooms and blowers are some of the tools used. These tools often have really long handles.
It's best to watch Minnesotans manage their roof snow and do as the diligent natives do. Ask advice about how to safely manage your roof snow and icicles when winter is here.
D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc. is ready to help new residents and native Minnesotans winterize their homes and their roofs. Survive the snow season in St. Paul and the Twin Cities by scheduling a complete professional roof inspection today.