How Snow and Ice Affect Your Roof

icicle covered metal roof

Preparing for Winter

As winter settles in, homeowners in the Midwest start anticipating the inevitable snow and ice that are the hallmarks of the season. We all know that these weather phenomena have an impact on our roads, our comfort levels, and our outdoor maintenance routines. But have you ever thought about what impact ice and snow have on your roof? A frigid winter with a lot of precipitation can cause some major problems for your roof. Here is what to be aware of so you can be prepared.

Ice Dams

When ice and snow that have accumulated on your roof melt, they can flow down the roof and freeze on the edge of it. This results in ice dams, which can be very damaging to your gutters and your roof as it can tear off the flashing. Proper insulation and ventilation are usually the keys to preventing ice dams.


Heavy snows can cause a lot of extra weight on your roof. This results in stress that is hard on your roof as a whole. Adding to the problem is large blocks of ice that can form when melting snow or rainwater are allowed to accumulate on your roof. In the worst-case scenario, this stress can lead to a cave-in. To keep stress as low as possible, remove heavy snow from your roof as soon as possible.

The Freeze/Thaw Cycle

As snow melts, it can easily flow into cracks in your gutter or roof. When it freezes again, the water expands and can turn small cracks into larger ones that can cause major problems. Even small cracks can lead to leaks in your home and larger cracks could cause catastrophic water damage. That’s why it’s important to get your roof inspected regularly to identify cracks and other damage and get them fixed before they turn into larger problems.

Roof Blisters

Some of the damage done by the winter months isn’t apparent until the thaw. When warm weather arrives, it can trap moisture or air between layers in your roof. This is especially common in low-sloped or flat roofs. These blisters can compromise the integrity of your roof and eventually lead to leaks or failure.

Snow Removal Damage

Sometimes it’s not the weather itself but the act of mitigating it that causes issues. In the process of snow removal, some homeowners can puncture shingles or damage the waterproof membrane on the roof. This is even more likely if you’re trying to remove ice. If you plan to remove snow and ice from your roof yourself, make sure you have a safe and effective way of doing so. If you don’t, a better option is to have a professional do it for you.

Living in the Midwest means cold temps in the winter and hot ones in the summer, both of which can do a number on your roof. As winter sets in, keep the above possible hazards in mind and do your best to keep an eye on potential problems. If you do think you have a roof issue, contact the pros at Hometown Roofing to do an inspection and repair small problems before they become catastrophes.