4 roofing tips that will make winter bearable

Ice dams are just one possible risk of an improperly insulated roof.

When winter comes, the changes in the weather can affect the entire home. The exterior of the roof is obviously a site where snow and ice can accumulate, and there are some steps to take to keep the roof clear and prevent damage to the home.

Make use of all of these ideas if you're concerned about the effects of the weather. With a little work, and the right materials, the roof can be less susceptible to changes, and you'll have less work to do later on. If you haven’t considered redoing your roof before, the threat of winter weather could be enough to persuade you.

Watch out for (and take care of) ice dams

An "ice dam" is a frozen pool of water on the roof of the house, which could leak under the shingles and threaten the structure. HouseLogic recommends finding a professional to de-ice the roof using steaming techniques, but also mentions that a home method is possible, even if it puts the homeowner at risk.

"When the house is being built, contractors can use this product to keep the roof in good shape."

If you're trying this on your own, make sure you can reach the entire roof and clear snow and ice out of all the possible crannies. However you take care of it, it's good to have a plan for these ice dams ready, because the water leaking from them could eventually hurt the inside of the home as well if it breaches the roof.

Use Grace Ice & Water Shield®

When a house is being built, contractors can use this product to keep the roof in good shape. It adheres to both itself and the bare roofing easily, and is designed for hassle-free application, including a ripcord to make papering on multiple surfaces at the same time effective.

Even though it lies under the roofing and is not as visible as other roofing solutions, this product can save you money during the cold season.

Find appropriate insulation

There are several types of insulation, and they all come with their own rules for where and how to apply.

While some forms of insulation require specialized skills, other forms can simply require specific equipment, such as blow-in insulation. Contractors and construction workers may need to install certain kinds of insulation themselves in advance to both lower heating bills and leave the roof stronger.

When winter's already upon you, restructuring the entire roof to add insulation is a tall order. Instead, it may be best to match the roof's insulation with interior material to make it especially warm.

Keep the roof cold, not too warm

On the other hand, Popular Mechanics suggests that keeping the roof at a certain level of coolness might be preferable to warming it up indiscriminately. This is because, the article says, you'll need to find a good balance: the roof needs to be warm enough to melt the ice but not cause the snow to spread out too much as it turns to water.

Popular Mechanics went on to recommend using ventilation and insulation to try and relieve the stress on the building caused by ice. Heated air needs to escape, so there isn't an overwhelming amount of it in the attic space under the roof.

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