Getting Your Roof Ready for Winter in New Mexico
When I ask homeowners in other parts of the country how they are getting their home ready for winter, most talk about snow removal equipment, avoiding ice dams and stopping icicles from forming on the gutter. However, winter doesn’t always bring snow. This is especially true for states with wide variances in elevation, such as New Mexico.
Winter? It Depends Where You Are
Because New Mexico’s terrain ranges from low plains and valleys to high mountains, the state has one of the most varied winter climates in the country. Those in elevated areas can experience large amounts of snowfall during winter, while those in lower areas even 100 miles away will only get rain and a cold breeze at most. That being said, the type of roof preparation you undertake will greatly depend on where you are.
Roof preparation is most important for people who live in elevated portions of New Mexico (particularly in the east and mountain ranges), where winter is marked by snowfall and the occasional blizzard. If you live near those areas, you have to make sure that you have the necessary equipment prepared to get snow off your roof. Otherwise, the sheer weight of snow can put an enormous strain on your roof’s deck and support beams.
There’s a lot less snow further west because it’s warmer, but temperatures can still dip below freezing, especially during evenings and early morning. Every now and then, that cold can cause moisture to condense on the roof surface and be absorbed by certain roofing materials, such as wooden shakes, and to attract mold or mildew. If you live in one of these areas, pay attention to early signs of moisture damage. If you can, hire a professional roofer to check if the roof’s underlayment is still completely intact to prevent condensation from forming on the roof deck itself.
It doesn’t mean you’re out of woods if you live in one of the warmer areas. Winter is the driest season of the year in New Mexico, and this could lure unwary homeowners into a sense of complacency. If an unexpected rain occurs, neglected roof damage can cause even the slightest showers to cause major roof leaks. Fortunately, less frequent rain means winter season is also the best time of the year to conduct a yearly roof inspection.
Regardless of where you are in New Mexico, one thing is for certain – the temperature will fluctuate, so you need to make sure your roof is properly insulated. Otherwise, all the air that your furnace or air conditioner worked so hard to produce will just escape through your attic. If you’re in an area of New Mexico that receives heavy snowfall, this can be a bigger problem, since the same air that keeps you warm can flow up to your attic and warm the snow on the roof, making ice dam formation more likely to happen. Either way, poor insulation during winter puts extra strain on your furnace, which means having to pay more for your next monthly bill.
David Gibson is the General Sales Manager of Rhino Roofing, a community-centered roofing company that has been serving homes and businesses in Albuquerque and Santa Fe for nearly 20 years. David is passionate about the roofing business and enjoys sharing industry news, company updates, and tips for homeowners on the company blog.