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Fort Worth Roofing: Article About Preparing A Roof For Winter

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Several simple steps can be taken to protect a roof from the harsh conditions of winter. The average roof installed today can be expected to last at least 20 years, but this lifespan can be increased with simple maintenance. If a roof is left untended throughout the winter months, ice buildup, snow accumulation or falling debris can potentially cause serious damage. Fort Worth roofing experts recommend taking the following steps to prepare a roof for the harshness of winter.

The single most important step a homeowner can take to protect the roof against winter weather is to arrange a thorough cleaning of the gutters and downspouts. Leaves and other organic debris commonly clog gutters and prevent proper drainage of rainwater. When this happens during the winter months, the water pools in the gutters and freezes, forming ice dams. These ice dams further block rain and meltwater from draining away from the roof, and this water can back up under the shingles and lead to roof leaks. Roof leaks can cause extensive damage that is very expensive to repair.

Homeowners should do a thorough check of trees that overhang the roof as well. Branches that could potentially fall onto the roof should be trimmed back. Accumulated snowfall can be very heavy and cause these branches to fall.

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When this happens, shingles can become damaged, or in worse cases, the branch can penetrate the wood decking.

No winterizing of the roof is complete without an inspection for roof pests. Squirrels, mice, snakes and other creatures large and small all seek warm places to live when the weather gets colder. Homeowners should guard against their intrusion by ensuring all attic vents are installed and properly operational. Screens and vent covers must be in place to keep these animals out.

A final step that many roofing professionals recommend to prevent problems with a roof in the winter is the installation of heat cables. Heat cables are simple electric cables that heat up enough to melt snow and ice along the edge of the roof. Without heat cables, it is recommended to remove snow accumulation on the roof in excess of 2 feet. Snow gets very heavy very fast, especially in wet conditions, and can cause a roof to collapse in extreme situations. Snow should be removed carefully with a snow rake without climbing onto the roof if possible. Homeowners who have questions or wish to learn more about winterizing a roof are encouraged to contact a roofing professional.

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