One of the hardest seasons for a home's shingle roofing is winter. Heavy snow, excess moisture, freezing water, and wind can all damage asphalt shingles. Knowing how to mitigate these damages can save you money as well as prevent difficult winter season repairs. 

1. Maintain Gutters and Eaves

Ice dams are the biggest winter risk on a shingle roof, and the gutters and eaves are the likely causes of ice dam formation. Water flowing off the roof can be dammed up by swollen, rotting eaves or clogged gutters. The water will hit these obstructions and flow under shingles, where it can freeze and form an ice dam and leak. Cleaning the gutters, repainting fascia boards, and replacing damaged eaves before winter prevents this issue.

2. Replace Worn Shingles

Shingles reaching the end of their working life will likely fail under the rigors of winter weather. Check out your shingles in the fall, looking for signs of damage like curling edges, cracks, wavy surfaces, or smooth spots where the gravel has worn off. If you spot these damages, call in a roofer to see if the shingles need to be replaced or if it is time for a new roof.

3. Repair Damaged Flashing

Flashing seals against water intrusion where ever something protrudes through the roof, such as around chimneys and vent stacks. There are different types of flashing, including the aluminum sheets found around chimneys and the rubber boot style around a plumbing vent. Over time, flashing can corrode, crack, peel, or come loose, which allows moisture to get in come winter. Replace damaged flashing in fall before winter weather arrives.

4. Mitigate Moss Growth

Moss doesn't damage roofs on its own, but it traps moisture that can cause damage. In winter, the trapped moisture can freeze and add unnecessary weight to the roof or lead to the formation of ice dams. A thorough roof cleaning with dilute bleach or a mildew remover solves the problem. Homes with moss-prone roofs typically require annual cleaning.

5. Monitor Winter Stresses

Wind, ice, and snow storms, and freezing temperatures can all lead to new roof damage. Catching them early minimizes the severity. Walk around your house and check the roof for damaged shingles, loose flashing or gutters, and scraping tree branches at least once a month throughout the winter months. It's also a good idea to inspect after each winter storm that comes through.

Contact a roofing company if you need pre-winter roof repairs or replacements.