Winter Roof Prep: Can Snow or Ice Damage Your Roof?


In the wintertime, homeowners often begin to question the resilience of their homes against harsh elements like cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind. Though a roof topped with a blanket of snow and icicles may look like a pretty scene out of a Christmas movie, it surely can introduce some problems for your roof and home.

Homes across the country face the potential for snow or ice damage to their roof when we see this kind of weather. Unlike rain, which typically dries up or drains from the roof after the storm is over, winter moisture can stay put and even cause structural damage.


5 Ways Winter Can Cause Roof Damage

Here are 5 key things to consider when it comes to your roof in the winter:


1. The Weight Of Snow On Roofs

Depending on the moisture content, snow can weigh between 1 to 20 pounds per cubic foot. This is a lot of weight for your roof to endure, and if the weight of the snow is more than the load-bearing capacity of a spot in your roof, there is a chance of minor or major damage and collapse. Particularly if you have a flat roof or an older roof, this can be dangerous, and we’d recommend swift snow removal or emergency roof services – especially if the snow is piling up high for long periods of time.

Many homeowners attempt to remove snow from their roofs on their own, but this can be very risky without the proper tools. Never use a ladder or get on top of an icy or snow-filled roof; we’d only recommend raking from the ground. However – professionals can take care of this for you and remove the snow in a safe, efficient way.


2. Ice Damming On Roofs

“What is ice damming?” Ice damming happens when heavy snow and water build up during the day and then refreezes when temperatures drop below freezing. An ice dam forms when the snow and ice freeze at your gutter line, which essentially creates an ice blockage or dam. Water can also seep into cracks in your roof or home, refreeze, and then cause major structural damage.

The key here is to remove the snow or ice quickly to avoid damage – which can be done by raking, using hot water or chemicals to melt the ice, or hiring a professional to take care of it for you.

Illustration explaining the process of ice damming on a roof. The diagram shows a cross-section of a house with a sloped roof covered in snow. Heat escaping from the living space below due to inadequate insulation causes the underside of the snow on the roof to melt. The melted water trickles down the roof but refreezes when it reaches the colder edge, forming an ice dam. This dam prevents proper drainage, leading to trapped water that can seep into the home, causing damage. The diagram indicates the absence of a ridge vent and a soffit vent, contributing to the problem by not allowing cold air to circulate and keep the roof surface uniformly cold.



3. Winter Wind Against Roofs

Though your roof may not have to endure hurricanes like some other states, winter wind is no joke. Blizzard winds are defined as winds that are 35 mph or greater and last for a few hours or more. At those higher speeds, insecure shingles, tiles, and slates can easily be torn off. Blizzard wind is packed with snow, hail, or sleet – which is also very damaging to a home’s roof at those high speeds. It’s important for you or a roofing company to assess damage after a big winter storm so you can protect your roof and protect your home.


4. Icicles On Roof Gutters

Icicles can damage your shingles and gutters – not to mention be very dangerous to someone standing below a broken or falling icicle. Icicles add weight to your gutters and the edge of your roof, which could cause them to pull away or even collapse.

Icicles cause ice buildup in your gutters or downspouts, which can be very hard to remove without causing damage to your roof. Trapped water is never a good thing – and without the ability to drain water properly, this could lead to potential water overflow and water damage to your home. Icicles that are frozen on important roof elements can also lead to loosened shingles, creating entry points for water, and increasing the risk of leaks.


5. Winter Roof Leaks

As we all know – the source of any roof leak is water! Winter weather events often include snow and ice, which all melt eventually. If snow or ice gets into your attic or causes a crack in your roof, water can leak into your home. When the temperature drops and the water refreezes, it expands, widening the gaps and potentially leading to further damage. If you see signs of a roof leak, such as wet spots on the walls, puddles, or drips from the roof – call a professional roofing company like ProRoofing in your area as soon as possible.


How To Prepare Your Roof For Winter

Before winter hits in full force, you can take some steps to prepare your roof for winter. Winterizing your roof can reduce the chances of any snow or ice damage:

  1. Watch your roofline for any signs of unusual dips, curves, or sagging.
  2. Keep your gutters clean to prevent any blocks or clogs.
  3. Check for leaks everywhere in your home, especially ceilings or walls.
  4. Check your attic for water damage, since this can be the first place for issues to occur.
  5. Trim trees and branches that could break off and damage your roof, especially with the extra weight of snow or ice.
  6. Remove roof debris to avoid a pileup of leaves or twigs that could be soaked with water.
  7. Get a free roof inspection to make sure your roof is ready for winter, or if you suspect damage.


Even after you’ve taken these winter preparation steps, damage can still be done to a roof in the winter from the snow, ice, and wind. If you see any signs of damage or think you need a new roof before winter hits next year, contact a professional roofing company like ProRoofing to see your options. We also offer emergency roof repair for immediate issues that need to be addressed!

Homeowners can be proactive and get a free inspection by ProRoofing to make sure we can solve a minor issue before it becomes an even bigger problem! At ProRoofing, we offer a completely free inspection to assess what needs to be repaired for your roof, and then we can take care of the repair or completely replace your roof. We’re here for you all winter long and for every day in between!

At ProRoofing, we offer professional snow or ice damage detection and repair services.

Our experienced team can identify even the most hidden spots of winter roof damage and provide effective solutions.

Avoid the headaches and potential costs of a damaged roof with ProRoofing.

Avoid future problems and achieve peace of mind overhead with ProRoofing.

Schedule your FREE roof inspection today!