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By Rachael E. Thomas

Winter is tough on a house, especially a roof. It gets the brunt of the elements. Wind, cold temperatures, high humidity, and snow and ice all impact your home’s cover, making it more susceptible to leaks and damage. Follow these five tips to keep your home warm and safe and save yourself money in the long run.

1. Clear It Off

If trees surround your home, there’s a good chance that branches, pine needles, and leaves are building up on the roof. This adds weight and blocks drains and scuppers. Water accumulating on your roof can rot the wood, causing leaks and other damage. Clearing off your roof on a regular basis leaves it in tiptop condition.

2. Trim The Trees

Keeping the trees around your home trimmed leads to less debris on your roof and in your gutters. Have the branches closest to your house cut and remove the dead limbs. Heavy snow and ice can add weight, causing the branches to snap off the tree and possibly crash through the roof. A good rule of thumb is to trim tree limbs at least 10 feet from your home’s roofline. Trimming trees can be extremely dangerous, and best left to the pros. The cost here in the Austin area ranges between $330 to $980, according to data from LawnStarter.

3. Clean Gutters

Failure to keep your gutters clean can lead to costly repairs! Sticks, pine needles, branches, pine cones, and more are regularly found in gutters and downspouts. When they’re clogged, precipitation has nowhere to go. The water backs up and overflows, damaging the outer walls of your home and pooling around the foundation, leading to more costly repairs. The gutters and downspouts can become so heavy with debris and water, they pull away from your home, causing major structural damage.

Also, all that “nest” material in the gutters is attractive to birds, squirrels, and other rodents. And once they get on your roof, there’s a good possibility they’ll get into your attic, making holes and damaging the insulation.

4. Examine Your Attic

Giving your attic a thorough inspection also benefits the roof. Make sure there’s enough evenly-distributed insulation to keep the heat in. When heat exits your house, not only does it add to your electric bill, the heat can become trapped under the shingles on the roof. This leads to ice dams if the temperatures are low enough and there’s precipitation. While you’re in the attic, check the ventilation, as well. When air is circulating properly, it helps prevent ice dams.

5. Hire a Professional

While it may be tempting to DIY your roof maintenance, professionals know exactly what to look for and how to fix any problems. We’ll check the flashing (a thin material used to move water away from vents, chimneys, and skylights). We’ll also look for any sagging, check the valleys, keep an eye out for animal damage, inspect the shingles, and more. In the Round Rock/Greater Austin area, KangaRoof Austin can do all of this. Our company is GAF certified, as are our technicians. We offer roofing and gutter services, as well as repairs to weather-related damage. Getting your roof checked out before the worst of the bad weather arrives can be the difference between a small fix and a costly repair!

Rachael E. Thomas flips houses whenever she can find an ugly duckling at the right price in a good neighborhood. The rest of the time, she writes about home and landscaping trends and DIY issues.