Tips to Prevent and Handle Roof Damage in the Fall

Leaves in gutters
Regular roof maintenance, especially before fall and winter, is important to ensure your home’s cover lasts its longest. (DepositPhotos)

Along with fall comes a long list of outdoor chores to finish before temperatures plummet and snow flies.

Here are four ways to make sure your roof stays in shape and withstands cold weather.

Leaves on roof
The roof is one of your home’s most important parts, so keep it well maintained and make necessary repairs immediately.

1. Clear the Roof

Wet branches and leaves should never remain on your roof. If you see these items, remove them immediately!

That’s because wet branches and leaves keep moisture in contact with your roof’s shingles or tiles — and, left unattended, this water will find ways to penetrate the roof.

Never climb a roof when it’s raining or without the proper gear (an extension ladder, gloves, and anti-slip shoes with thick rubber soles)

While removing wet leaves, branches and other debris, look for depressions in the roof where water can pool. These dips represent areas where damage can occur with snow and ice loads.

An annual roof inspection, preferably by a professional, is the best way to extend your roof’s life. (DepositPhotos)

2. Check Your Shingles

After you’ve cleared any wet leaves and branches from the roof, check your shingles’ structure and integrity.

First, make sure there are no loose or missing shingles. Don’t want to climb a ladder and check the roof yourself? No problem! Use a pair of binoculars to get a good look at individual shingles, along with caulking around the vents, chimneys and flashing.

If you discover that there are missing shingles or waterproofing materials, call a professional roofer to replace the material before snow and ice hit.

Just make sure they’re licensed, bonded and insured. It also helps to check friends’ word-of-mouth endorsements and online reviews of local roofers.

Gutters with leaves
Gutters have an important function: they direct water from your roof and away from your home. But they often fail because of leaf buildup.

3. Clean the Gutters

Getting rid of clogs in gutters before winter couldn’t be more important! And there’s a good reason for that.

A clean gutter system keeps water flowing off the roof and away from the house. This helps to prevent leaks into the top (roof) and bottom (foundation) of your home.

Poor gutter maintenance can be costly, especially if water collects at your home’s foundation due to incorrect sloping. Remember, water should run down a slope away from your home.

It can cost $10,000 to fix the foundation when clogged gutters cause rainwater to run down the walls of a home, seeping into the slab.

Tree branches can fall on your roof during a storm, and when that happens, it’s important to take fast action to prevent more damage. (DepositPhotos)

4. Prepare for Disasters

Besides maintaining your roof and gutters, you need to prepare for winter disasters.

When a branch falls on the roof in the middle of the night, having an emergency tarp or two can reduce water damage to a minimum.

Since it takes time for the insurance inspector and repair team to get to the problem, installing temporary covers can minimize water penetration and protect the sheeting and other parts of the roof.

While any homeowner can tackle each of these four maintenance tasks, professional help is available.

However, if you’re just not up to a DIY checkup, contact a roofing contractor and book an annual inspection.


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