According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we are in for some cold and changeable winter weather this year. Conditions are going to be so unpredictable, in fact, that the upcoming season is being likened to a “polar coaster.”

In many parts of the country, the winter months bring not just chilly temperatures, but also an awful lot of precipitation. Rain, snow, and ice — as well as the high winds that often accompany storms — can wreak havoc on your roof. So before the snow starts to fly, make sure that your roof is in tip-top shape by winterproofing it inside and out.

How to Winterproof Your Roof: 5 Essential Tips for Homeowners - winter, roof, preparation, home

1.Take Inventory and Inspect the Exterior

Choose one of the beautiful autumn days that are soon to be just a distant memory, and devote a few hours to cleaning up your yard and checking out your home before winter winds begin to howl.

Make sure there are no loose tree branches overhanging your roof; if there are, get up on a ladder with your chainsaw or call in a tree service to take care of the problem. Take a look at the roof while you’re up there. See any loose shingles, missing shingles, or areas where the roofing material seems to be buckling or sinking? This could indicate damage to the roof’s structure, which means your roof might not survive the storms to come.

Shingles that are damaged or missing can cause a domino effect. Once the winds have found a toehold in the form of a loose shingle, it’s incredibly easy for them to shear off large areas of shingles. Make a note of where the damage is, and what type. You will want to give your roofing contractor this information.

2.Clean Debris from Your Gutters

Cleaning out the gutters isn’t many people’s idea of a good time, but it will be good to have it done, so don’t delay. Clogged gutters and drain spouts can lead to numerous issues, including leaks inside the home, issues with the roof, siding problems, and even trouble with your home’s foundation. And gutters that are clogged with leaves and other debris make an inviting environment for pests, such as rodents, to make their home.

Call in a gutter cleaning service, or DIY it with a ladder, a bucket, a pair of gloves, and a scoop made from an old milk jug.

At the same time, check gutters to ascertain that they’re in good repair and firmly attached to the house. The experts at Parsons Roofing, a roofing company in Atlanta GA, advise that this should be done at least once in the fall and once in the spring. Just like their leaf-clogged counterparts, loose or broken gutters can lead to plenty of expensive problems.

3.Seal Everything Up Nice and Tight

Pay particular attention to any area of your home’s exterior where different materials meet. Chimneys, extensions, gutters, windows, and doors are prone to leaking when there are gaps where two types of material aren’t securely bonded together. A silicone sealant or expanding foam will fill in all the gaps and batten all the hatches.

4.Head Indoors to Inspect the Attic

Once you have the exterior of your home winterproofed, head inside and take a look at the roof from inside. Is your attic nice and dry? Or are there cracks, gaps, leaks, or any other damage?

Of course, not all roof damage is immediately apparent. Don’t forget to look at the attic floor for damp areas. If the attic has a musty odor or the air just feels damp, there may be unseen leaks. Again, mention these problems to your roofing contractor.

Preventing ice dams is important for the health and lifespan of your roof and your entire house. Insulate your attic as a safeguard against ice dams. This has the added bonus of making your HVAC system more effective since you won’t lose air through the attic. Chances are you will notice a big difference in your heating and cooling bills, too.

5.Be Prepared for Winter Storms

Invest in a snow rake if you live in an area of the country where snowfall could become an issue. They have telescoping handles, so you can reach high up on the roof to gently encourage excess snow to fall down where it belongs — on the ground.

Never attempt to get up on your roof in the wintertime, however. If you cannot reach the snow from the ground or from a ladder, and you suspect that it might be endangering the roof’s integrity, call in a professional. The risk of injury or even death by falling from an icy, slippery roof is simply too great.

How to Winterproof Your Roof: 5 Essential Tips for Homeowners - winter, roof, preparation, home

Let Old Man Winter Do His Worst!

It doesn’t take a long time, or a lot of effort, to give your roof, gutters, and attic an inspection. An afternoon’s or even a weekend’s worth of tending to your property will pay off big time, throughout the winter season to come, in the form of lowered utility bills, less damage to your home’s infrastructure, and peace of mind.