Winter is officially here, even in the southeast. We may have only gotten a few flurries so far, but that should be warning enough that more serious weather could soon be on its way. It’s not too late to perform some basic roof maintenance before you’re in the position of requiring costly repairs. Whether at your home or business, the roof is any building’s first line of defense against heat loss, water damage, infestation from vermin looking for a cozy winter nest, or mold.

The first step is to attend to your gutters. Now that leaves are done falling, it’s time to scoop out whatever accumulated in your gutters and give them a good rinse. Cap your downspouts with wire mesh, if necessary, to prevent clogs, and make sure your gutters are still level and well-mounted so the water flows the right direction and doesn’t pool or accumulate. Also trim back any trees or vegetation that might be scraping the roof, dropping branches or giving pests a path up, or pushing the gutters out of alignment.