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With fall and winter’s extreme weather on the horizon, assess your roof and prepare for the cold weather ahead. You can protect your roof against damage and even extend the life of your roof with some maintenance tips. Realize that the roof assessment should be done by a professional, but there are some things any homeowner can do to prepare for winter.

The first thing you can do is assess your roof’s framework. This includes looking for signs of sagging sections in the roof. Once you eyeball these from the ground, climb on the roof and use a straight-edge to verify your observations. These sagging spots should be addressed prior to winter when snow and rain may exacerbate these problems.

A second thing you can do is check your roof flashing to make sure it is completely sealed against the roof. This is one of the most common places for roofs to leak. It should be checked at least once per year to make sure whether (including storms) has not knocked it loose. A professional Portland roofer can do the inspection, but you can educate yourself and do a good job.

A third thing you can do to prepare for winter is to inspect the drainage valleys on your roof. These should be clear of any debris. Keeping your valleys clean of debris accumulation will reduce weight in these areas, preventing unneeded wear and tear for your roof.

The fourth thing you can do is to examine the shingles on your roof. The shingles can also be loosened by wind, hail, etc. Inspect the shingles carefully for missing granules and other signs of wear. You can also look for these granules in the valleys/gutters on your roof, because they will collect in these areas.

Fifth, the sealant on your roof, including around chimneys and bricks, and antennas and plumbing stacks, will deteriorate. This deterioration is sped up with the extreme weather elements including sun, heat and cold, and wind. This may be one of the easiest proactive steps you can take to protect your roof.

Sixth, do not forget to check the attic when you perform a roof examination. Verify that your attic has enough evenly distributed insulation to maintain temperature in your home. Exiting heat can become trapped underneath your shingles and promote ice dams. Ice dams are caused by melting and freezing ice and snow and can damage your roof wherever they occur. The hot air escaping through your roof can cause mold damage and/or other water-related damage. This melting and refreezing can also cause damage to your gutters.

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