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Weathering the Storm: How to Prepare Your Roof for Extreme Weather

America’s diverse climate means homeowners must be ready for anything from blizzards to hurricanes. Extreme weather events can damage your roof, allowing water to seep in and cause interior damage. Preparing your roof to withstand whatever nature throws at it is crucial. Follow these tips and your roof will be ready to weather the storm.

Inspect and Repair

The first step is examining your roof carefully at least once per year, in spring or fall. Look for any worn, damaged, or missing shingles and have them repaired or replaced right away. Also check flashings around chimneys, skylights, and vents for cracks or leaks. Use roof cement to seal any small cracks. Replace any loose nails or secure any sections that look like they might come loose in high winds. Taking care of minor roof damage promptly can prevent more serious issues down the road.

Clear Debris

Make sure your roof is clear of fallen branches, leaves, and other debris at least twice per year. Materials that accumulate on the roof can lead to water backing up and damage from mold or pest infestations. They also add unwanted weight that strains the roof structure. Carefully remove debris with a roof rake or hire a professional to handle this task.

Trim Overhanging Trees

Trees that are too close to your home or have branches hanging over the roof are trouble. Strong winds can cause branches to fall and damage the roof. Keep trees trimmed back at least 10 feet from the edge of the roof. Remove any diseased or damaged limbs that could come down in a storm.

Replace Your Roof

If your roof is more than 10 years old, consider replacing old or worn-out shingles with new ones. Replacing your roof provides an extra level of protection compared to keeping original shingles past their prime. A new roof ensures your home’s first line of defense against the elements will hold up. Find a reputable roofing firm, such as this roofing company based out of Nashville, to give you a quote.

Evaluate Roof Sheathing

Make sure the roof sheathing under your shingles is in good condition. Water damage or rot in the roof deck from prior leaks can compromise the integrity of your roof. Inspect the sheathing, especially around any protrusions or joints. Repair or replace any damaged boards. Solid sheathing is key to withstanding high winds.

Look Into Secondary Water Barriers

In areas prone to wind-driven rain penetrating the roof deck, secondary water barriers provide extra leakage protection. Installing an ice and water shield over the entire roof or at vulnerable spots gives water a second layer to get through before it can damage the roof sheathing. Some roofing companies may offer affordable secondary water barrier installation services.

Install Temporary Storm Protection

Right before major storms, install temporary storm protection on vulnerable areas. Options include hurricane fabric, storm panels, sandbags, and tarps. Have needed materials on hand and act quickly when a storm is approaching. Make sure you can safely access and install temporary protection.

Inspect and Make Repairs Post-Storm

After a major storm, walk around the entire roof and check for damage. Look for missing or torn shingles, damaged flashing, water stains indicating leaks, and any punctures from falling debris. Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Have a professional roofer inspect and make more permanent repairs. Spot repairs promptly to prevent future headaches.

Preparing your roof correctly takes some time and effort up front. But it is worth it to protect your most important asset from extreme weather damage. Follow these tips and your roof will be ready to withstand whatever blows through.

Jeff Campbell