Winter isn’t easy on anyone or anything, including your home. Your roof especially takes the brunt of the harsh cold, snow, and ice that can pile up throughout the season. This additional wear and tear has the potential to do real damage to a roof that isn’t prepared for the extreme low temperatures and heavy precipitation.

Homeowners should be aware of the special challenges winter brings to a home. Knowing how snow and ice can impact your roof will help you to recognize any potential warning signs and call for a professional at the first sign of trouble.

Common Impacts from Ice and Snow on Your Roof

1. Freeze and Thaw 

Small cracks, gaps, or other slight vulnerabilities in your roof can become large gaps that allow leaks into your home. As temperatures warm, water can seep into any tiny breach in your roofing. When the temperature drops below freezing again, this water expands into ice, forcing the crack wider. This leads to roof damage and leaks.

2. Ice Dams 

Warm air escaping from the roof edges can melt snow and ice near the gutters and the fringes of your roof. This melted water then freezes again, creating a dam of ice along the edge of your roof. These barriers prevent snow and ice from running off your roof as designed, leading to gutter leaks and damage.

3. Roof Stress

Accumulating snow can become very heavy, placing pressure, and therefore stress, on your roof. Excessive weight can cause your roof to sag or leak. If enough damage has occurred, it can even cause your roof to cave in.

4. Leaks 

Snow presents the leading cause of roof leaks. Water, snow, and ice can exploit any spaces between your shingles by getting between them. This seepage, as well as the freeze-and-thaw effect, can cause extensive damage to your roof.

How to Prevent Winter Roof Damage

You can take simple steps to minimize the impact of snow and ice on your roof. Regular maintenance can help ensure your roof lasts the maximum lifespan.

  • Inspect your roof regularly for obvious visible damage. Refer any places of concern to a roofing professional right away. If you’ve experienced a leak, you may not be able to locate the source on your own. A skilled roof specialist can help you identify both current and potential future issues.
  • Clean your roof twice a year. It’s recommended to do this during the start of spring and the end of fall so your roof is ready to stand up to the more extreme seasons. Clear away any branches or debris so the roof is clean in time for warm weather or snow to arrive. 
  • Repair and replace your roof as needed. Regular maintenance may mean you are just having to make minimal, small repairs for a long while. However, all roofs need replacing eventually. Choosing a roofing material that can withstand Michigan’s extreme winters will likely mean this won’t need to happen until much later down the road. Your roofing expert should be able to recommend materials that perform well, enhance your home’s curb appeal, and go easy on the budget.


Heavy snow and ice aren’t far off. Ensure your roof is ready for whatever winter will throw at it this year by preparing for the harsh cold with Horizon Roofing and Construction. Have your roof inspected, cleaned, and any troublesome spots repaired so your home will stay safe and snug throughout the winter season. Should review of your roof reveal the need for a new one, for a limited-time, Horizon Roofing and Construction is offering $1,000 off all roofs! Schedule your free roof evaluation today!

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