With winter just around the corner, we’re sure to see the kind of snowy scenes which make our towns and villages look like something from the front of a Christmas card. However, all homeowners should be aware that these wintery conditions are capable of causing real damage, which can cost a lot of money to fix. Don’t assume your insurance will take care of it either – you’ll need to show that your roof has been properly maintained. Here are some basic tips to make sure you’ve minimised the risk of snow and ice damage to your roof.
Snow may look pretty, but it’s very heavy, and all that weight is sitting on your roof. An average roof with two feet of snow on it is potentially carrying an extra 19 tonnes of weight. Try to get your roof inspected by at least twice a year. This is something you can do for yourself simply by looking up at it from your garden, or you can call in a builder with specialist equipment if you have a non-standard roof. Check the roof and the ground for signs of missing or damaged tiles, slates or shingles. Much like pot holes in the road, when the warm weather melts the snow, it turns into water, which gets into tiny cracks. Should the temperature fall again, the water sitting in these cracks turns into ice, hardening up and damaging the area surrounding the crack.
If you have a chimney, check the stack and pot, and ensure they are not leaning. A leaning chimney would indicate a weakness which needs immediate attention.
Remember to check your insulation, because poor insulation is the root of many roof problems. If the roof space is too hot, the snow will melt as soon as it hits the roof tiles, turn to water and head for your gutters, only to re-freeze there. You’ll then end up with a large ice cube blocking your guttering, with enough weight to pull the guttering off your house.
Without putting yourself at risk, try to keep snow build up to a minimum. If you can access the roof, gently use a rake or soft broom to brush it away.
If there has been very severe snow, do not attempt to go anywhere near your roof unless you have the correct safety equipment. The dangers snow and ice can pose are immense. It’s far safer to wait for someone who has access to the correct tools.