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Is Your Metal Roof Ready for Winter: 5 Tips to Prep for the Cold

Winters can be tough on all roofs, especially for areas that experience extreme weather. While snow and ice formation can pose several problems to more traditional roofing materials, metal panel roofing systems can withstand the added strain. But like any outdoor building product that is exposed to the elements, metal roofs still need a little care to prepare for the colder months.

By following these tips, homeowners can help their metal roofs remain durable, energy-efficient, and beautiful no matter what the winter season throws their way.

1. Visually inspect the roof for damage

Inspecting a roof for damage can reveal potential issues before they cause long-term problems. Even though metal roofs tend to be more resilient than other competitive options (lasting up to three times longer than asphalt shingles), they are not completely invulnerable to damage. The danger for damage can increase in the winter since freeze-thaw cycles can exacerbate the risks created by moisture penetrating roofing materials.

Looking for marred panels, flashings and seams can help affirm that a roof will provide optimal protection against winter weather. Although homeowners can take this task on by themselves, seeking a professional’s opinion can help ensure a thorough and accurate assessment of the roof’s integrity.

2. Add snow guards

Metal roofs shed snow quickly and efficiently. This benefit can be dangerous during heavy snowfall—since large clumps of snow and ice can slide from a roof without warning. Falling ice could damage gutters and shrubbery or even cause injury.

Snow guards regulate the rate at which roofs shed snow and ice, so installing them can mitigate the risk of property damage and personal injury. But not all snow guards are equal. ColorGard® has unsurpassed holding strength and color-matching. It is also warranted for the life of the roof it guards.

3. Trim trees overhead

While snow guards regulate snow shedding, they can also catch fallen branches, which make even the most stunning roof look a little unsightly. Trimming overhead branches helps sideline debris from collecting on the roof (and in gutters).

It also helps prevent damage that may happen when a large branch strikes a roof. With the added strain of heavy snow, branches may be more likely to fall in the winter. And if one strikes a roof with enough force, it could cause damages that may not be immediately noticeable. By trimming branches, homeowners can reduce the risk of damage from falling debris before it happens.

4. Clean the gutters

If the trees surrounding the house need trimming, chances are the gutters also need cleaning.

Debris can collect in gutters and reduce their ability to control the flow of water from a roof. In the warmer months, this can lead to leaks and foundation issues. Clogged gutters become dangerous in winter due to ice damming. For example, if ice and snow slowly melt and then pool in a clogged gutter, it can refreeze, accumulating more ice until the weight causes the gutter to fall.

Cleaning the gutters helps mitigate all these issues and is an easy way to ensure a roof will stay strong and intact in the harshest weather.

5. Check the attic’s insulation

Even though metal roofs can quickly shed snow, ice dams can still form if the roof is not properly insulated from below. As heat radiates through the attic and out of the roof, it can melt the snow, causing it to trickle and refreeze along the eaves and gutters. This creates dangerous ice dams whose weight can damage gutter systems. Ice dams can also fall suddenly—posing a serious risk of injury for those standing below.

To protect against this, properly insulating the attic-side of a roof can help prevent temperature fluctuations and reduce the potential for ice dam formation. By following insulation recommendations by region, homeowners can also reduce the energy needed to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature year-round.

Prepping for winter is easier with metal

While taking the steps to ensure a roof is ready for colder weather does require some effort, homeowners with metal roofs are at an advantage. Shingled roofs can be difficult to inspect, and one damaged shingle can allow moisture to seep into a home. Metal roofs, however, are designed for long-lasting durability and withstanding extreme weather.

With proper care before winter takes hold, these systems can provide premium protection from the elements for decades to come.