Top 5 Ways Snow Can Damage Your Roof

Winter can wreak havoc on the roof of your home and in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, this is a major concern.  and it’s not wise to wait until spring to address the issues that it can cause. There are several issues that snow and ice can cause to your roof. Below, we will provide you with the top five ways snow can damage your roof and how you can manage those issues. Your best option would be to call the professionals at A & J Reliable. We can help you with your snow damaged roof.

5 Ways Snow Can Cause Roof Damage 

There are five major issues that can arise due to snow and ice. These are: 

  • Formation of ice dams 
  • Formation of icicles 
  • Condensation problems in attic
  • Heavy snow loads on roof 
  • Amplifies existing issues 

Formation of Ice Dams 

As warm air rises from the heated living areas in your home, the shingles of your roof are warmed- which means the snow covering it is as well. This causes snow to melt and drip down to the cooler areas of the roof and re-freeze as ice. As the ice thickens, it causes additional melting snow to back up. This is known as an ice dam. 

When ice dams form, it causes water to seep under your shingles and ultimately, into your home through leakage points. There’s a greater likelihood of water leaking into your home when the backed-up water freezes and thaws, eventually working it’s way into the nooks/crannies, causing them to expand. 

The primary way to prevent ice dams from forming is making sure your attic is well-insulated and properly vented. However, another way to decrease your risk is to clean out your gutters and downspouts in late fall. Also, you should use a roof rake to remove snow from the edges. 

Another option is to have heat trace cables installed in your gutters. This will keep the melted snow flowing, which prevents backups in the first place. 

Formation of Icicles 

Icicles are the result of the same conditions that cause ice dams. Though they may seem harmless, the truth is they can cause damage to your gutters and shingles. Also, they can break off and fall on people walking under them. Better insulation and ventilation can decrease the formation of icicles- but another way to deal with them is to use your roof rake or climb a ladder near them to dislodge them. If you choose to climb the ladder, make sure it’s secure and not sitting on ice- and you should never walk on a roof that is icy. 

Condensation Problems in the Attic 

If you are battling roof issues from winter build-up, chances are that you will have excess condensation in your attic. Moisture build-up is a serious issue because the result can be wood-rot and mold/mildew. 

Proper ventilation is the answer here- but you also need to make sure that you plug any leaks in your attic floor where the moist air could enter.

Finally, dehumidifiers, plumbing, appliances, and other malfunctioning devices can cause condensation problems in the attic.  

Roof Collapse due to Heavy Snow Load 

Different roofs can handle different weights of snow and if there’s too much ice or snow built up on your roof, you are at risk of your roof collapsing. Wet snow is heavy but if you have a large drift of light snow, it can cause significant pressure on your roof. 

In some cases, poor drainage and/or construction can enhance the impact of a heavy snow load. You may end up with a roof that creaks, leaks, and ultimately end up with sagging ceilings. This situation is serious, so it’s imperative that you call in the professionals if you see/hear signs that your roof is about to collapse. 

Amplifies Existing Issues 

In addition to causing new issues, the freeze/thaw cycle and heavy snow loads can amplify existing issues, such as loosening already unsecured flashing, dislodging shaky shingles, and prying open gutter seams where caulk has broken. 

Therefore, it’s important to call a professional to do a roof inspection and perform maintenance tasks before winter begins. 


If you live in a northern climate that experiences snow, these five issues can affect the roof of your home during the winter. However, if you take care of your roof before, during, and after the harsh winter, you can avoid having to replace your roof or have costly repairs. You can call the professionals at A&J Reliable to handle your roof inspection, ice & snow removal, maintenance, repair, and replacement issues.