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5 Steps to Prepare Your Cedar Roof for Winter

5 Steps to Prepare Your Cedar Roof for Winter

The Chicago suburbs are accustomed to nasty winter seasons that roofs must endure as the first line of defense for their home. Making sure your cedar shake roof stays in prime shape to combat low temperatures, ice dams, and storms is as easy you know what to look for. Here are the 5 steps to prepare your cedar roof for winter:

1 – Inspect Your Cedar Shake

The rough weather ahead can easily tear off already loose shingles or damage areas where roof shakes are missing. Cupping, curling, and cracked shake make for easy picking for wind as well as snow/ice to work its way in to further damage the surrounding area. If you find any, be sure to call a reputable cedar roofing specialist like Shake Guys right away to get your roof repaired.

2 – Examine the Flashing, Vents, and Deck

Flashing and vents have an important role in directing melting snow and rainwater off your roof so the water doesn’t seep into your home. Over time, roof flashings, which are typically copper pieces installed along roofing edges to protect them, can loosen or tear from strong winds or heavy rains. If this happens, a leaky roof is the outcome, creating a costly problem. When inspecting flashing, check the entire perimeter of the roof, as well as around chimneys, roof vents, piping and skylights. We suggest getting on a ladder to get a good view.

5 steps to prepare your cedar roof for winter

The best alternative to using a ladder is looking out your windows if possible!


5 steps to prepare your cedar roof for winter

Look at valleys, shakes, gutters, etc. right from your window!


As part of the inspection, check the roof deck for holes, tears, or other signs of deterioration. Joints, caulking and metalwork on the main roof surface also should be checked for signs of wear and tear. This may be harder for an untrained eye so if anything looks odd call an expert for help.

3 – Give Your Gutters a Good Cleaning

Clogged gutters and downspouts are a major cause of roof damage in the winter months. Leaves, acorns, tree branches, pinecones, dirt and other debris block your gutters and downspouts from properly eliminating melting snow. As a result, the snow melts on your roof and the water remains there, weakening your roofing and leading to ceiling leaks in your home. Clogged gutters can also help lead to ice dams!

When cleaning your gutters, also check that their fasteners are properly fastened and secure. Well affixed fasteners will protect your home from water build-up and gutter overflow and prevent leaking water from damaging the interior walls of your home. For your peace of mind, the A+ BBB rated Shake Guys will conduct a free gutter evaluation to ensure your home’s gutters are working properly.

4 – Inspect for and Remove Roof Valley Debris

A roof valley is the “V” angle that forms when two sloping roofs meet. These valleys are gathering spots for leaves, large tree branches and other debris that can block the flow of melting snow. If your roof has valleys, it’s important to clear them of any debris to avoid roof leaks.

To clean the spaces you may need to use a hose with a powerful stream or an extension duster as we never recommend homeowners actually get on their roof tops.

5 – Be Mindful of Attic Ventilation

If snow or ice build-up has been a problem in past winters, installing an air ventilation system in your attic will promote air circulation so less snow and ice builds up on your roof. Ice dams are more rare with cedar roofing but if they occur they are often more destructive than with other roofing types. An air ventilation system can protect your cedar shake from damage and prevent your roof’s trusses and rafters from warping.

By taking these 5 proactive steps, you can ensure, and even extend, the expected lifespan of your cedar roofing system. If you’re unable or uncomfortable inspecting the roof of your home yourself, give the Shake Guys a call. We’re ready to inspect your roof and advise you of any repair action that might be required. 847-278-2272

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