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How to patch your roof in winter

The best time to inspect and repair your roof is before snow, sleet and ice arrive. Finding places to patch ahead of time makes the job easier, but still comes with important considerations.

You need to review the safety precautions of working on your roof, identify problem areas and make sure you have the right tools and equipment to fix the problem. Even if your roof has already been covered by snow, though, there are tools available to clear the space needed to make repairs. 

In this article: Getyiyi Pickaxe, Henry Roof Cement and BXI Flashing Roll Tape.

Safety steps before you inspect your roof

Any time you work on your roof, safety is a priority to prevent falls and injuries. 

Ensure that your ladder is in good working order and placed firmly on the ground. If there is snow on the ground, use a snow shovel to clear the area before erecting the ladder. Ladder accidents are a common cause of injuries even before you reach the roof.

You should wear work boots with intact tread for a tight grip on the ladder rungs. Avoid wearing open-toed shoes or sneakers.

What to look for when you inspect your roof

The first thing to look for when you reach the roof are missing or damaged shingles. Over time, some shingles can curl or crack, which can lead to problems. 

Check pipes and eaves for mineral granules that have washed off of shingles. If you have a large accumulation of granules, it may be time to consider replacing your roof due to deterioration.

If you've noticed a leak inside your house, try to identify the location on the roof where the water is entering. 

If winter has beaten you to the punch and your roof is covered in snow, look for ice dams that have formed. You will want to remove these immediately, since they can cause a lot of damage. 

What you will need to patch and repair your roof

If you roof is already covered in snow and ice, you will need several items to clear a space for your repair. 

An electric roof cable or roof salt warms snow and ice to melt away ice dams safely without damaging the roof. For extra-thick ice dams, you may need to use a pickaxe. Use extra caution to make sure you don't damage the roof or eaves while chipping away at the ice. 

For minor repairs, keep a supply of roofing cement to seal leaks and fix broken shingles. A roll of flashing tape can be used as a protective barrier between the roof and shingles, forming a permanent seal against the elements. Some roofing material requires a torch to heat and activate the sealant. This should only be done by homeowners experienced using torches.


Q.  Do cracked shingles need to be replaced?

A.  No, most cracked or torn shingles simply require a quick repair. Apply a small drop of roofing cement to one side of the crack and then the other side, spreading it across the crack with a putty knife. 

Best roof repair products

Getyiyi Pickaxe

This multi-functional pickaxe can be used to break up ice dams on your roof. It has a classic wood handle and high-quality stainless steel blade. 

Sold by Amazon

Henry Roof Cement

This versatile wet patch leak repair cement works even in wet conditions and can be easily spread when it is cold outside. It seals chimneys, roof vents and gutters, and repairs cracked or raised shingles. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

BXI Flashing Roll Tape

This tape works well in cold temperatures with premium stickiness and elasticity. Made from modified asphalt covered with aluminum foil, it forms a waterproof bond for roof repairs of all kinds. 

Sold by Amazon

Frost King Electric Roof Cable Kit

This de-icing kit can prevent ice dams from forming or melt them away once they have. It has 160 feet of cable and comes with shingle clips.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Goss Propane Torch Kit for Roofing

With a push-button ignition, it's easy to use this propane torch. The brass regulator provides consistent gas flow up to 500,000 Btu.  The torch comes with a swivel hose connection to keep it from entangling. 

Sold by Amazon

Roof Melt

Made from 95% calcium chloride and working at sub-zero temperatures, these tablets begin working within an hour of being tossed onto your roof. Ice dams and snow are gently melted away. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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