While some enjoy fun in the snow during the winter, it is no playtime for roofs. Snow, ice, and drastic temperature changes are among the weather conditions that can take a toll on this part of the house. They can lead to costly damage and entail safety risks for homeowners.

Knowing how winter weather conditions impact their homes allows homeowners to take preventative measures to avert unwanted expenditures. Here are some ways that snow and ice can affect the roof.


Snow and Ice Accumulation can Weigh Down Roofs

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), most roofs can support about four feet of fresh snow and two feet of packed snow before becoming stressed. The combined weight of two feet of old snow and two feet of new snow can amount to approximately 60 pounds per square foot of roof space, which is beyond its usual snow load capacity.

When the roof becomes too stressed from the excessive weight of ice and snow, it can collapse and endanger the residents.

Homeowners should get ice and snow buildup removed before they get too thick to prevent safety hazards and costly damage. They should also have their roofs inspected after enduring harsh winter weather conditions to determine possible deterioration signs.


Freeze and Thaw Cycles Entail Structural Damage

Melting snow can seep into cracks and small openings on the roof and gutters. When temperatures drop, the water refreezes in these areas, which can make the gaps expand. This freeze and thaw cycle allows more water to get into cracks, worsening them over time.

Necessary preparations like inspections and timely repairs enable residents to spot gaps in the roofing system and seal them before winter comes.


Ice Dams can Result in Leaks and Water Damage

Ice dams form along the roof’s edges and prevent water from melting ice and snow to drain. This blockage allows water to back up into the roofing system and cause water leaks in the interior ceiling and walls. The weight of ice dams can also weigh down the gutters and construction materials, causing damage and leaving an opening for moisture to seep in.

Removing snow buildup can help reduce the likelihood of ice dam formation. Homeowners can also use ice melt products to get rid of ice dams. However, they must exercise caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent untoward incidents and roofing damage.


Temperature Changes after Winter can Cause Roofing Blisters

Warmer temperatures after the winter season can trap moisture in the roofing layers. As it gets hotter outside, the pressure in these areas causes the trapped humidity to expand. This occurrence can weaken shingles, resulting in roof blisters.


DIY Snow Removal Might Damage Shingles

While it is a good idea to monitor ice and snow accumulation, DIY removal might cause more problems than solve them. Homeowners might puncture or scrape shingles as they try to remove the snow buildup on their roofs. They must be careful when removing ice and snow by themselves. When the task is too dangerous, they can call professionals to do it instead.



Winter can bring about harsh weather elements like ice and snow that can cause potential damage to roofs, mainly if left unchecked. Stress from the weight of ice and snow buildup, deterioration from freeze and thaw cycles, leaks and water damage from ice dams, and weakened or broken construction materials are some of the negative this cold season can cause roofs.

A well-built and properly maintained roof system should be durable enough to withstand winter weather conditions. Additionally, ensuring its moisture resistance prevents water from seeping into the structure and penetrating interior roofing parts.

Residents can remove ice and snow buildup by themselves as long as they follow safety protocols and exercise caution to avoid damaging the roof. Even so, if the job is too difficult for a DIY fix, it is ideal to hire professionals instead. Furthermore, when homeowners notice signs of damage, they should contact trusted contractors to have their roofs inspected and repaired.


Request a Quote at Long Island Roofing and Chimney Today!

Long Island Roofing and Chimney is a reliable and trustworthy roofing and chimney contractor on Long Island. With over 15 years of high-quality professional services, they are among the best companies to take care of roofing, chimney, gutters, and other home maintenance and improvement projects. Contact Long Island Roofing and Chimney today at 631-205-6177 (Suffolk County), 516-605-6108 (Nassau County), or click here to request a quote.