With some weather forecasters predicting snow as early as October we’d better start preparing for the cold weather. That doesn’t just mean stocking up on hot water bottles and wooly socks but also checking your roof to make sure it can withstand the winter problem free.
With large drops in temperature frost can form and this can be terrible for your roof and house if it’s not been properly maintained.
Lets start with the roof tiles, slates and shingles. These should be checked for loose, cracked or wonky tiles. If you come across any that look damaged get them replaced as soon as possible. A damaged tile or shingle can let water in and allow leaking, which could go on to damage the interior of your home. Moss or lichen tends to grow on roof tiles and shingles, this should be removed as it can shift and disrupt tiles. However don’t use bleach to remove it as this can damage your downpipes. Use specialist cleaning products you can get from your local homeware or DIY shop.
Next, take care of your garden. Cut back any trees with overhanging branches over your roof. Harsh weather could cause a branch to snap off and land on your roof and constant brushing up against the tiles could dislodge them.
After trees have lost the majority of their leaves is the best time to clean out your gutters. Clogged gutters and downpipes can lead to a lot of water soaking into the ground around your home. Once cold weather sets in it can freeze this standing water causing it to expand and it could crack your foundations. You should make sure that your gutters are set at a gradient as they can become warped over time. Test this by pouring some water into the highest end of your gutter and make sure it can flow freely to the downpipes. If there is any water pooling get it checked out by a professional and have your gutters cleaned or replaced if necessary. The Foundation Repair Association recommends that for ever 8 feet of guttering there should be a drop of 1 inch to ensure water flows to the downpipes sufficiently. If you’re not sure how to check your gutters, get a professional to do it for you.
You should also keep safety in mind when working at height. Hire scaffolding to ensure safety when checking your gutters as ladders can slip and be dangerous in wet and windy weather.
Next, check your caulking around the roof membrane. Check around the flashing, chimney stack, skylights, vents/pipes, satellite dish and any other attachments on your roof. If water gets into any cracks and freezes it can lead to all sorts of more serious problems such as leaking and bigger cracks. Make sure the pointing is crack free and not crumbling, replace any if necessary. Also check exterior paint for cracks and paint over them to stop water from getting in.
If and when the snow comes try to keep it off your roof. Brush it off frequently with a sweeping brush or snow shovel.
Now, a quick look at how to help your home from the inside. Have you boiler serviced to make sure it will last the winter and provide your home with warmth efficiently. Keep your home insulated with loft and wall cavity insulation but make sure your home is well ventilated to prevent condensation and mould.
So, I hope you all a warm and trouble free autumn/winter. If you have any comments or tips to add, please feel free.