Depending on the area, a winter season can be long and harsh. Once the rain and snow come, getting onto a roof can be tricky and oftentimes dangerous. Preparing a multi-family housing roof for the winter is not only a precautionary step in avoiding roofing problems; it also aids in preventing accidents where roofers are concerned. Here is a list of things to winterize when preparing your multifamily housing roof for the winter.

Gutter Check

The purpose of gutters is to guide rainwater and melted snow away from the roofing of a structure. When gutters are not maintained, they collect debris which overtime leads to them becoming clogged. Once clogged, they will overflow and potentially cause damage to the roof, trim and siding of a building. This build up can also become so heavy that the gutters pull loose from their anchor points and even collapse. By checking the gutters you are preventing damage and saving money from repair costs. A good time to maintain your gutters is during the fall season once the trees have shed their leaves. Depending on the surroundings of a building, this may need to be done more than once to keep the gutters clear. Gutter screens and guards can also be installed to prevent debris from collecting.

If the gutters are clogged they will start to cause water to pool near or on the roof. If ignored, the water can seep through openings leading to leaks and costly water damage. If the water begins to pool during very cold temperatures it will freeze creating ice dams which will also cause roof damage. Checking the gutters of multi-family housing is essential in preparing for the winter.

Trimming Dead And Overhanging Branches

When it comes to dead and overhanging branches, there are a lot of benefits to trimming them back before the winter season approaches. Even before the rain and snow hits, wind can cause tree limbs to crack and break which can lead to excessive damage to a roof. Aside from branches breaking through the roofing, they also contribute to the accumulation of debris that clogs up the gutters. Cleaning the gutters of a structure will be continuous if branches are not properly maintained. Removing all overhanging limbs is one step in preparing a multifamily roof for the winter to avoid potential damage and the cost it takes to repair it.

Another side benefit to trimming back dead and overhanging branches is that it keeps pests like squirrels, raccoons, opossums and even rats from having easy access to the roof. These critters can cause havoc if they find an entryway into a building so trimming back any overhanging branches as well as tall bushes and trees around the exterior will help keep these pests out! Depending on the climate of the area, a preventative moss treatment may also be in order to ensure the life of roofing shingles and avoiding potential roofing leaks.

Inspecting Your Roof

There are two vital components to a roof that need to be inspected when preparing your multifamily housing roof for the winter. First, as would be expected, are the shingles. Roofing shingles can experience a great deal of wear over the years. Unless they are newly installed, shingles can come loose or missing altogether in time. This can lead to numerous problems concerning the roof, with the main one being water damage. Once water has a way in, the damage that ensues can go unnoticed until it’s too late. By this time, the damage is so excessive the repairs are sure to be costly. One way to notice if shingles are becoming faulty is if they start to shed granules. If gutters are becoming littered with granules this is a sign the roofing material is breaking down and due for needed repairs. Visible signs of shingles curling or having debris lodged within the sides is also a sign they are becoming loose and need to be maintenanced.

Inspecting the flashing of a roof is also vitaly important. Flashing provides an additional protective function by directing water off of the roof, keeping it from seeping through to the structure. It consists of an impervious material like galvanized metal or aluminum located along the intersections of the roof. This includes all joints, edges and areas where things like chimneys interconnect. Strong storms, freezing rains and heavy winds can potentially cause flashing to loosen, tear or even corrode. To avoid issues with water damage it’s highly recommended that flashing is inspected.

Don’t Forget The Attic

The attic space is often overlooked as an integral part of the roof when it comes to preparing your multifamily housing for the winter. What many don’t know is that the attic plays a great deal in contributing to energy waste when not properly insulated. How does this make it an integral part of a roof? When heat rises through the attic during the colder winter months it can cause ice dams due to the heat melting the snow which then refreezes. This can be a huge issue where water damage is concerned.

When the attic is properly insulated this is less of an issue which makes insulating an attic important. Not only will it aid in preventing heat from escaping causing external issues, there will be less energy escaping and therefore a lower energy bill. Cold air is also prevented from seeping into the building aiding in less energy waste. Checking to make sure your attic is properly insulated by ensuring evenly distributed insulation and a ventilation system that allows for air to circulate will prepare your multifamily housing roof for the winter.

In conclusion, it’s imperative to prepare your multifamily housing roof for the winter. Reducing the risk of costly repairs in always a plus and worth the maintenance.