How to Protect Your Roof from Winter Damage (7 Simple Tips)

Winter is here, which means it’s time to deal with common winter roof problems, whether you have a sloped or flat roof. After all, winter is hard on roofs. From leaky flashing to icy cold winds loosening asphalt shingles, there are many issues that can lead to costly roof repairs if not addressed in a timely manner.

That’s why we’ve prepared a list of helpful and practical tips to protect your roof and ensure it stays free from winter weather damage.

7 Ways to Prevent Roof Damage in Winter

Winter is one of the worst seasons for your roof. During these colder months, your roof becomes susceptible to many types of damage, including ice dams and condensation forming in improperly insulated attics. Here’s how you can protect yours from winter damage.

1) Inspect Your Roof

When was the last time you inspected your roof? If it’s been a while, do so thoroughly and right away. Without a proper inspection, you won’t know just how damaging a small problem can be. For example, small cracks and weak spots may not seem harmful at first but can turn into bigger problems, making your roof vulnerable to snow and ice damage. These can lead to mould, wood rotting and leaks. Inspecting your roof frequently gives you time to fix it before it becomes worse.

2) Check Your Drainage Before A Snowfall

Dried leaves, which get stuck in your roof’s rain gutters and drains, substantially increase the likelihood of ice dams. That’s why it’s essential to check your drainage before major snowfalls. Removing debris from downspouts and clearing drains to allow water to move and exit your roof reduces the chances of water damage and the formation of ice dams.

3) Trim Nearby Tree Branches

Trees can endanger your roof in winter. Overhanging limbs can scrape its surface and damage its protective layer. If branches fall on your roof, they can pile up with snow and ice and obstruct drainage.

Your best bet is to trim any branches that come within six feet of your roof to prevent them from creating trouble when winter weather sets in.

4) Insulate Your Attic

As mentioned, attic condensation is a big problem during colder months. This occurs when warm, moist air from the main living area rises into the attic space and meets the chilly underside of your roof’s deck. If your attic isn’t properly insulated, condensation there can lead to mould and mildew.

To prevent condensation building up, make sure your attic is properly ventilated and insulated. Fix cracks and weak spots causing air leakage and ensure your bathroom and dryer vents are routed outside.

5) Remove Excess Snow

Winter brings with it a weather cocktail of freezing rain, snow and ice pellets. Flat roofs are especially susceptible to snow accumulation and drifting. That’s why it’s essential to routinely remove snow from your roof to prevent ice dams, water infiltration and, ultimately, roof collapse.

Removal of excess snow is especially important after a heavy snowfall. Left unaddressed, it can stress your roof and create many problems, like ice buildup and water leakage, which can eventually lead to costly flat roof repairs.

6) Look for Damaged Shingles

A heavy snowstorm can cause a lot of damage to your roof, so make sure you inspect it afterwards to look for (and replace ASAP) any cracked, missing or deformed shingles. If ignored, leaks may occur, and melting snow will rot underlying the wood sheathing and rafters.

7) Install Electric Heat Cables

Electric heat cables are handy tools that can be attached to your roof to combat ice dams. Install them along the edge of the roofline and gutters in a zigzag pattern to prevent melting water from cooling enough to freeze. This will let the water flow down to the ground, instead of freezing and turning into ice dams. This arrangement may not be attractive but can be effective in preventing ice dams.

Preventive maintenance and addressing these issues promptly are key to the upkeep and longevity of your roof. Since winter is in full swing, it’s important to inspect your roof frequently and fix leaks and other damages as soon as you notice them. If you encounter a roof issue you’re unable to handle, get in touch with a roofing contractor. For flat roof repair and replacement, feel free to contact us at 416-699-2007.

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