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Roof Safety In Winter

We have split our guide into two in order for both homeowners and roofers to ensure that they are doing what they can to both look after a roof and remain safe, too.
 

Homeowners

  • Fix existing leaks



If you already have a roof that leaks, then putting it under the pressure of the winter months can make it worse in a matter of days. Rainfall is at a higher level during the winter, which means the leak will succumb to more water pressure. However, should water get in and then ice form as temperatures plummet, the ice will then make the source of the leak bigger and could render it harder to fix.
 
  • Clean your gutters



Gutters that are full and clogged will keep hold of water, meaning that when the cold weather hits, that water and moisture will freeze up.
Ice isn’t good for your roof and if you don’t have somewhere for excess rainfall to flow into, or snow to melt and run through the gutter, then you will end up with too much water on your roof.
 
  • Flashing

We don’t mean literally go flashing…
However, checking the flashing on your roof will ensure that you don’t have leaks. If you have skylights or Dorma windows, checking the flashing is especially important for you. Even if you don’t have a leak, be sure to replace flashing that looks damaged or isn’t in good condition in order to prevent a leak from appearing further down the line.
 
  • Look inside and outside

Take a step outside and look at the line of your roof, and take note of any areas that may look as though they are sagging.
Once you’ve looked around your house, then go inside and check the ceilings for inward sagging, and if your roof can only be seen from the loft, then it’s time to get the ladder out!
Sagging must be rectified before winter as snow and ice brings with it extra weight on your roof, which can damage the roof even further.
 
  • Cut back overgrowth

If you have any trees that have overhanging branches, then cutting them back before winter is very important as unpredictable windy weather could cause them to snap and land on your roof, leading to rather extensive damage in some cases.
 

Roofers

If you work on a roof, then nine times out of ten of you will know how to stay safe whilst working during the winter but having a glance over won’t do you any harm.
 
  • Wrap up warm

Bit of a ‘mum’ thing to say, but mums are always right?
You are at an increased risk of hypothermia during the winter months, and it occurs when moisture and low temperatures work together to take away the body heat from your body as you are working.
Wearing three layers of clothing is the ideal way to avoid this from happening, and you should strive to wear an inner layer, an insulation layer and an exterior layer in order to preserve as much body heat as possible.
 
  • Watch your step



It’s common sense, but always be extra vigilant when you are working on a roof during the winter as conditions are very different to warmer months. You have things such as ice, snow and wet conditions to contend with, so risk assess every single day in order to ensure you are doing what you can to stay safe.
 
  • Be aware of hazards that you may not be able to see

Always keep your wits about you as if you work on a roof that has a blanket of snow, risks that you would normally see won’t be as easy to spot. Things like skylights and roof openings can be covered in a matter of minutes, so be sure to know what is on the roof before you climb up there.
 
  • Remove snow and ice where possible

When you decide that you want to remove the snow and ice from the roof, it is imperative that you only use a crew that is trained in doing this. De-ice with salt and always be sure that all snow is removed, as stepping on snow affects your centre of gravity and can make you slip.
 
  • Beware of the wind

Wind hits us all through the year, but it is especially prominent during the winter months, and when you team it up with potential snow and ice, then you’re in for a triple threat of danger!
When the wind arrives, it is best to avoid rooftop work as much as possible when it is at a level that is beyond manageable.
 
 
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