Expert Advice: Get Your Roof Ready for Winter
Last year’s winter punished the entire Northeast region, with Connecticut taking a good brunt of the beating. Snow began coming down early on November 7 and never really stopped for the next five months, and by the end of the season the accumulations were staggering.
While Connecticut is used to some serious snowfall, nothing could prepare the state for last year’s wintry beating. Tolland County received the most snow with 102.5 inches recorded in some areas, and northern New Haven County also received above average accumulation with 70 inches in spots. During the February Nor’easter (named Winter Storm Nemo, harkening images of the children’s movie that didn’t match the storm’s demeanor at all), Hamden recorded the highest snowfall in the state at 40 inches.
An intense winter is the worst time to discover you have a problem with your roof. When the snow really starts falling, it may be too late to permanently fix a major problem. Instead, you’re forced to put a Band-Aid where stiches are really needed, and hope it doesn’t get any worse.
Major work should be done in advance to ensure your family has a safe and secure winter, and a roof is nothing to skimp on. It can be argued that your roof is the single most important investment you can make on your home. As Jamie Fidiero of Meriden-based home improvement company Fiderio & Sons says, your roof is “your primary defense” against damage.
Not caring for it can have disastrous results—a collapsed roof being the worst outcome. But there are many smaller issues that can occur from an improperly maintained roof. While they may not be as visually shocking as a concaved roof under feet of snow, they can mean big problems for homeowners.
Cracks, leaks, poor insulation, heavy snowfall, debris and ice dams can mean a long, cold winter. Fiderio & Sons, a family-owned and operated business with 30 years of experience, recommends continued maintenance throughout the winter season to fix small problems as they occur.
Start inside your home by taking a good look at your ceiling. Darkened or discolored spots are a big indicator that your roof has cracks or leaks. If you notice these issues prior to winter, you should contact a roofing professional to have them fixed before the deep freeze sets in. If you don’t, the situation can only get worse.
You should replace any worn or missing shingles before winter begins because they form a barrier against cold, rain, tree branches and other debris.
The freezing and thawing of precipitation causes those beautiful icicles we all like to admire, but Fiderio & Sons warns that the appearance of icicles on your home is actually an indicator of bigger problems.
“If you notice that your roof has a lot of icicles then you most likely have attic condensation and ice buildup on the roof edges,” the company writes on their blog. “Having the roof inspected by professionals is the only way to truly diagnose the ventilation and condensation problem.”
Ice dams, the buildup of ice in your gutters or on the eaves of your roof, are another indicator of problems, and have the potential to force trapped water under the shingles or slate of your roof causing leaks. (Wind driven rain can cause the same issue, Fiderio warns.)
The easiest way to prevent ice dams is to clear your gutters of debris before nasty weather starts, and then stay on top of clearing gutters throughout the season. You can also invest in a WinterGuard waterproof shingle underlay for your roof—though this needs to be done before winter.
In order to prevent your roof from falling under the weight of New England snowfall, it’s recommended that you shovel some of the snow off your roof, or contact a roof professional to do it for you if conditions are particularly dangerous.
All small issues should be handled to the best of your ability as they arise, but regular maintenance and care throughout the year is your best bet to mitigate major problems and ensure that your roof is doing the best job to keep your home warm and safe.
Fiderio & Sons is one of many reputable roofing companies in the state. Doing research and selecting a highly experience professional is the best thing you can do for your roof and your home. To learn more about Fiderio & Sons, visit fiderio.com.
(This article was originally published on a different platform. Some formatting changes may have occurred.)
This article appeared in the December 2014 issue of Connecticut Magazine
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