How Snow and Ice Impact Your Roof

Snow and ice can be a major factor in roof damage. Here’s what to look for.
Snow and ice can be a major factor in roof damage. Here’s what to look for.

Not only can rain and hailstorms damage roofs, but our Seattle area snow and ice can also cause some serious damage.  It would be to your advantage to keep an eye on all sections of your roofing system so that you will spot any small problems before they escalate into major expenses.

The Strain of Added Weight

Although rain does add some weight to your roof it just runs straight off.  Snow and ice, on the other hand, does not slide off easily and can remain on the roof for quite a long time.  The result is that the roof surfaces become wetter and heavier with time. In a worst-case scenario, part of your roof could collapse due to the excess accumulated weight during winter.  Because your roof is hidden under the snow and ice, you need to look inside your home for signs of roof stress such as roof leaks or tiles coming away from the ceiling. It is recommended that If you do find signs of stress you contact a structural engineer for his assessment.


Those beautiful icicles that hang off the roof are usually signs of roof and gutter damage.  The formation of icicles can also occur if the gutters are blocked with dirt and debris. icicles are extremely heavy and if they fall, they could cause injury to a person walking under them. 

Ice Dams

Ice dams happen when ice and snow melt and then freeze up again before all of it runs off, creating standing water.  It is then harder for the roof to stay clear and the result is serious water damage to the roof.

Freeze and Thaw Cycles

Your roof is potentially in danger during freeze and thaw cycles.  This is because water seeps into roof cracks which will then expand when the water freezes, widening the cracks. Freeze and thaw cycles can cause damage to your roof and the interior of your home as well as possibly causing mold and mildew developing in your living areas.

Snow Removal is not a DIY job

Heavy snowfall does have the potential to cause roof collapse if not removed promptly, but this is not a common occurrence. Removing rooftop snow is a dangerous procedure and it is better to call in a professional roofing contractor to handle the job.

How to Prevent Winter Roof Damage

Proper maintenance as well as regular roof and gutter inspections are the best ways to safeguard your roof against winter damage.  If you notice any roof damage during the winter, you need to get it seen to immediately to avoid possible disastrous damage and high repair costs. If you have any questions about winter roof damage or any other roofing questions give Four Seasons Roofing a call today.