We’re turning our calendar to “November” and for my friend Claire? That means it’s time to put up the Christmas tree!
Most people say that’s too early for Christmas- but Claire’s tradition has a genuinely sweet family origin.
While pregnant with her first child, she was so certain her baby would be born right in the middle of December- leaving no room for decorating. In a third trimester panic (I remember those days!) she insisted her husband help her put up the Christmas decorations on November 1st.
Her first little girl was born right on time: November 19th. Six children later, they still keep the tradition alive.
When do you decorate for Christmas? I like to leave breathing room for Thanksgiving myself. But if there’s one thing Claire gets right, it’s this:
You can never be too prepared.
Sounds silly when applied to Christmas decorations, but for most things- including home maintenance? Preparation is so important.
You wouldn’t start cooking your Thanksgiving turkey an hour before dinner. By Christmas Eve, you’ve long since finished your shopping- not just getting started!
Without preparation every holiday would be a disaster.
The same is true for home maintenance!
Every home needs maintenance in its lifetime. Smart homeowners like you know the sooner you address a potential issue, the more time and money and stress you save in the long run.
When it comes to major home systems, like your roof, a little preparation can keep a roofing emergency from raining out your holiday plans.
How To Prevent Emergency Winter Roof Repairs
Everyone gets busy around the holiday season. That’s why it’s so important to assess- and address- any potential problems your roof has now.
In Pennsylvania your roof works overtime to protect your home. Schuylkill County is one of the wettest areas of the United States, which means your roof handles more summer storms and winter snowfall than your friends’ homes across the country.
At Martin, we only install materials we know are up to the task. But maybe your roof is older or perhaps it was installed by another contractor before you bought it.
If you weren’t there to contract your roof’s installation, performing two simple seasonal checks
is key to keeping your home safe as the winter sets in.
Your roof is your home’s first defense against deterioration. It works hard to:
- Provide shelter from rain and hail
- Regulate a consistent home temperature
- Protect against mold and mildew problems
A failing roof can mean major problems for your home, inside and out.
Christmas is right around the corner… and so is that winter weather! The good news? These two simple checks will
- Give you insight into your roof’s health- inside and out
- And let you know if you need to call a pro in to make repairs before the winter weather.
The best part? They can be done while you’re prepping for decorating- no additional time needed! Plus, at the end of this article, we’ll cover some simple maintenance you can DIY on your own if you’re looking to increase your existing roof’s longevity.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
How To Check Your Asphalt Shingles For Damage
Got that ladder out to string lights on your roof? It’s the perfect time to stop and check your shingles!
November to May is the windiest time here in Schuylkill County, with an average hourly speed of 6.6 mph.
This might not seem like much. A standard asphalt roof can withstand winds as high as 90mph. But that consistent wind paired with stronger storm gusts can wear down your roof, especially if it’s older.
Here’s why wind can sabotage your roof’s integrity: Wind doesn’t hit your roof uniformly. Instead, it hits at different angles, picking away at loose or damaged shingles (your roof’s weakest points).
6.6 mph wind wears down already damaged shingles fast. This wind speed is just enough to break off pieces of your asphalt shingle roof, exposing underlayment and creating leaks.
So, as you’re hanging up those lights, go ahead and look for:
- Loose or missing shingles
- Bare spots in the asphalt granules
- Peeling or curling at edge of roof
If you’ve noticed any of these signs it’s time to call a professional.
Loose shingles mean water damage, and lead to a chain reaction of problems in your home. When snow lands on your roof and begins to melt, the water doesn’t rest on the top of your shingles. It flows through the channels created by overlapping shingles.
But when your shingles are damaged?
The melted ice and snow gets trapped in between. Overtime, the water works away at the sealant, destroying the rest of your shingles and the underlayment.
Do you see missing or damaged shingles on your roof? Call us. Our crew is happy to stop by and give you an honest evaluation on if a quick repair will keep your roof strong for a few more years…or if it’s time to think about replacement.
The Best Roof for High Winds
Remember how we said an asphalt roof can withstand 90mph winds?
If your home is on a hill or exposed to larger areas of cleared land where the winds whip past, you might want to consider a stronger style of roofing material.
Let me take a minute to mention the strength of the metal roof. This popular style of roofing is one of the most durable materials available to homeowners. They last up to 70 years, and have a wind resistance up to 180mph- twice as much as a standard asphalt roof!
Prefer the style of a traditional asphalt roof? That’s perfectly fine! Just make sure you’re getting quality material installed on your home. Our manufacturer, GAF designs asphalt shingles made to withstand any weather. Their timberline shingles stand up to winds as high as 130mph.
In fact, they’re so confident in their roof’s durability that they offer a 130mph warranty to match their claim!
Depending on where your home is located and how exposed it is to the weather, you might want to consider a stronger asphalt shingle or a metal roof the next time you upgrade your home.
Your Winter Roof Inside Check: Attic Ventilation
You’ve hung the lights and now you’re pulling the rest of the decorations out of the attic. Now is the perfect time to perform your second winter roof check: Your attic ventilation.
In August, we covered how attic ventilation keeps your house cool during the harsh summer months. And in winter? It uses those same properties to keep your home and attic warm. Here’s how it works:
A well-built attic should have two different types of vents: intake and exhaust vents.
In summer, the hot air rises up through your exhaust vents and is filtered out. The intake vents allow fresh cool air in, regulating attic temperatures.
Heat rises, working to your advantage in the hotter months.
And the same process works in the winter!
Most folks understand why you would want a cool attic in the summer, but did you know you also need a cool attic in the winter? That’s right! Your attic should only be about ten degrees warmer than outside temperatures, even in the coldest months!
A hot attic creates hot spots on your roof. These hot spots cause ice to melt irregularly, and refreeze on your roof’s edges. This is how your roof can build up dangerous ice dams.
Signs of Ice Dams
Have you noticed icicles hanging from your roof in winter? They sure look beautiful, but they aren’t good for your home. Icicles are a warning sign that your attic isn’t venting air properly.
Ice dams are one of the biggest winter dangers. They cause damage by:
- Directing water into your shingles and causing unnecessary wear
- Allowing water into your attic
- Damaging you gutters and keeping them from shedding water
The best ways to avoid ice dams is by regularly cleaning your gutters and checking your attic ventilation. So while you’re up in your attic hauling down plastic tubs of garlands, pay attention to the temperature. How cold is it compared to outside?
If it feels cozy and warm in your unfinished attic, it’s time to get your ventilation checked out by a professional.
A quick pro-tip: Run your attic fan in the winter. This will help regulate the temperature and protect against mold and mildew issues.
A Smart Roofing Guide To Regular Maintenance
You’ve checked your shingles for wear and your attic feels like the perfect temperature. Congratulations!
Regular maintenance is just as important as the big safety checks. Here are a few more things you can do to protect your home this winter:
- Seal gaps and cracks around your air vents with caulk or expanding foam.
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends cleaning your chimney every 12 months for maximum protection. A professional chimney sweep will identify signs of leaks, and other potential problems.
- Trim those trees! Low hanging branches can become overloaded with snow and weigh on your roof.
Your Roof: Safe And Sound For Winter 2021
It’s okay to wait to put up the tree until after Thanksgiving, but you don’t want to delay these roofing safety checks until Christmas.
Noticed signs of wear and damage? Call us!
Our team is happy to assess the damage and help you protect your family this winter. We know what issues to look for and what changes to make to keep your home safe.
Give us a call at 570-345-0406 to start preparing early.
PS. I promise we won’t judge you if the tree is up and decorated when we get there.
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