How To Help An Aging Roof Survive The Winter

Is your roof showing signs of wear, such as peeling flashing or missing shingles? This is a bad time of year to notice that your roof is ailing, since winter weather will be hard on it. With a little know-how and the right moves, however, you can help your aging roof survive the winter without blowing off or leaking extensively. Here's how.

Patch over missing or damaged shingles.

Actually replacing damaged or missing shingles is a bit time-consuming since you have to loosen the shingles above and wiggle the new shingles under them. A simpler, more effective way to prevent leaks from damaged areas is to just patch over the damaged areas. Lay some shingles down over the damaged ones, use roofing nails to hold them in place, and then apply a dab of roofing cement over the top of the nail heads. (Do not skip this step — exposed nail heads will allow water to leak in around the nails.)

Caulk any peeling flashing.

Ultimately, flashing that is peeling away or rusting needs to be replaced. However, this is a big job that your roofing company will need to tackle. As a good temporary measure before winter, apply some caulk between the loose flashing and the roof surface. This should seal and hold the flashing in place, though the caulk will wear away in a year or two. Make sure you apply the caulk on a dry day so it can cure properly.

Make sure the gutters are clear.

Before the weather turns nasty, make sure your gutters are clear and flowing properly. This will ensure water is properly funneled off the roof, so it does not freeze and cause additional roof damage — or leak in through damaged areas. Remove any leaves from the gutters, and pour some water down the downspouts to flush them out.

Sweep the roof off.

Obtain a long-handled broom, or climb up on a ladder so you can reach the roof with a regular broom. Leaves and other debris that sit on the roof absorb water, making leaks and additional damage more likely. Sweep them away periodically in the fall — and into the winter too, if the weather makes it possible.

To learn more about aging roof maintenance, reach out to a roofing company near you. They may be able to help you out with some temporary repairs until you're ready to replace the roof entirely.