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home with gray siding and snow covered roof in winter

How to Prep Your Roof for the Threats of Winter

Winters in New Jersey can be heavy, and quite literally so when it comes to your roof. What are the dangers posed by cold weather and how can homeowners guard against them?

There are certainly worse states to live in when it comes to winter hazards, but New Jersey can be unpredictable even in March. When snow hits, it hits hard: There were a few storms last year that brought 18 to 20 inches of snow to areas of N.J. In our earlier blog, we spotlighted all the right steps to prepare your gutters for winter. This time around we’ll explain how to protect the whole roof from the worst that winter can throw at us.

How bad can winter be for homeowners?

Cold can take a heavy toll on your roof to such a degree that it can compromise the safety of your home’s wider structure, as well as everyone inside or nearby.

One big winter problem is ice damming. The natural heat rising from a home can melt the settled roof snow to a limited degree. This melting snow flows down the roof beneath the upper snow layers and becomes ice when it hits the bottom of the roofline.

This solid ice line dams further flow, meaning all that melting snow and ice has no choice but to stay backed up on your roof, with the weight adding pressure and seeping into any cracks it can find. Water on or inside a roof can lead to structural weakening and mold/mildew, both of which can be a danger to the occupants.

The constant switching between cold and temperate weather causes thermal expansion and contraction in a roof. This back and forth of swelling/shrinking slowly compromises the integrity of roofing materials until small weaknesses appear, which are entry points for water and wind.

The sheer weight of snow can cause a roof to weaken at best, or collapse at worst. Here’s a quick method to calculate just how much winter poundage could be hanging over your head. That’s a snapshot of the risks of cold weather. Here’s how you can be proactive to protect your home and the people inside it.

What homeowners can do to prevent and fight winter dangers

A thorough examination of your roof’s condition is a good idea before winter arrives.

The professionals will discover and repair any cracks, tears or flashing gaps that could become problems when the cold hits. A pre-winter roof inspection will also reveal other problems like sagging (indicating that the roof isn’t as taut and strong as it could be). This is a structural issue that can quickly worsen when heavy snow and ice settle on the weak spots.

Clearing any debris from the roof well in advance of winter is another preventive step. Leaves, stones, dirt and other airborne detritus can clog up gutters and downspouts, creating a perfect place for snow and ice to cause further problems.

Our previous blog on gutter maintenance will help you get the job done well, but we advise using a professional for this unless you’re confident on a sturdy A-frame ladder using the tools we recommended.

Checking the siding of your home is also advised due to the relationship it has with the roof. A close look at where the siding meets the roofline will reveal a problem with either one and prevent an issue with the siding becoming a roof issue too (and vice versa).

Don’t forget your roof also has an inside 

Homeowners can be further proactive against ice dams if they’ve got efficient insulation in their attics. Well-distributed insulating material does two jobs. First, it helps the roof to keep the occupants warmer in the winter and saves on utility bills. Second, insulation prevents heat from escaping through the roof, where it can melt snow and ice and kick off the ice-damming process.

Now would be the perfect time to get a jump on the cold weather. We’re the team to talk to if you really want to nail winter preparation.

Let Blue Nail help you prepare for winter

At Blue Nail, we offer a complimentary consultation to discuss how your roof is doing now. We visit to conduct a thorough inspection, where we take photographs, make any necessary measurements and prepare an estimate for repairs. Depending on the simplicity of the job, we may be able to provide that estimate on the spot.

Even more-complex repairs don’t take long to estimate and complete, thanks to the fact that roof repair jobs in New Jersey no longer require a permit. This means we can get right to work without delay.

Roofing and improving quality of life for our customers is our passion. For some no-pressure advice, get in touch with us at the details below and don’t be left out in the cold.

Working with Blue Nail Roofing means coming home to craftsmanship. From first call to final inspection, we’re with you every step of the way to ensure you benefit from our experience. For more information or a free consultation, drop by our contact page or call 973-937-8876.

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