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How To Avoid These Common Winter Roofing Problems


The northern hemisphere winter months can be brutal in most regions. Even with climate change evident with receding snow lines residents in northern-based areas will get storms that bring with them heavy snowfall, drops in temperature and blizzards. The surface area of a home that needs to withstand weather conditions whatever they are from the searing heat, torrential rain, snow and strong winds is the roof.

More roofing issues become apparent during Winter and early Spring due to mother nature throwing all it has at it. Therefore know beforehand the state of your roof and prepare for maintenance and if required partial or full replacement.

If you’re just bought your first home, the status of the roof is not what you’ll be focusing on but ignore it at your own peril. If the worst happens and you lose part of your roof, insurance may cover the cost, however, it’s the inconvenience of having to move out of your home while you wait for the insurance provider to approve the claim and the job is done.

Therefore this article is to help you understand what may go wrong with your roof caused by the usual and unforeseen weather events.

1. Flashing Leaks

Almost all homes that have a sloping roof have suffered from leaking flashing. So what is the flashing? It’s the strip of metal that runs along the ridges and front edge corners of your roof. Flashing also runs around chimneys and skylights.

When the flashing is damaged or not correctly installed and reinforced, it can pull away from its container in bad weather, and when this happens, it can lead to a leaky roof.

Action – regular inspections

It’s a good idea to inspect your flashing regularly and get it repaired as soon as it looks like it could cause an event when under duress, i.e. strong winds, rain or snow.

If you’re not sure how to carry out the inspections and repairs, contact a roofing specialist, in your area say Principles Building and Remodeling.

Maintaining your home is cheaper than repair so never put it off to avoid the cost. Have a maintenance budget to pay for inspections.

2. Ice Dams and other ice-related events

Ice dams are one of the most common causes of roofing problems in the winter months. The freezing and melting of water underneath tiles or shingles usually occur near the gutters. As the water begins to collect behind the ice dam, it has nowhere to go except inside your property.

Action – clean out the gutters and downpipes.

Clearing out your gutters and downpipes can help to prevent this type of damage from occurring as water can escape down the gutters instead of collecting behind the shingles and tiles.

Blocked gutters often cause icicles. As we mentioned above, to try and prevent damage to your property, it’s a good idea to clear out your gutters regularly, particularly during fall.


Gutters can easily become blocked when debris such as twigs and leaves start to accumulate. This problem only gets worse as the temperature outside begins to fall. In the winter months, water that cannot drain away turns into ice. This adds extra weight and pressure to your roof and gutters.

3. Strong Winds

Strong winds can cause severe damage to a property, including ripping off your roof shingles, doors, and sidings. As wind speed increases, weak or loose shingles can be blown off your roof.

Action – Roof inspection for loose shingles or tiles

Roofs that are missing shingles can be vulnerable to damage or leaking. If you notice any shingles on the ground around your property, then contact a professional for an inspection. You need to make sure you make any repairs as quickly as possible to prevent further damage from occurring.

4. Condensation

When the warm air from inside your home meets the cold air from outside, it forms condensation. While condensation doesn’t always mean you have an issue with your roof, it can still cause serious damage to your home, so it needs sorting out. The best way to prevent your home from suffering from condensation is to make sure that it’s properly insulated.

The winter months can be brutal. The roof on your home is the first defense against rough weather. It makes no difference how prepared you are for the winter months; damage can still occur.

Action – regular inspections

Your roof protects your home – look after your roof, and it will look after your house. A leaking roof can cause structural damage and threaten the integrity of the building. Replacing structural walls, beams, as well as the roof, is a far more costly exercise than carrying out routine roof inspections and calling in the professionals when required.

Now you know how to avoid a bad roof event, here’s how you can keep safe when you’re climbing ladders and standing on high sloping surfaces.