How Does Snow and Ice Impact Your Roof?

Cold weather, ice, snow, and wind are all anticipated by many Colorado residents during the winter season. While this weather does provide for some enjoyable recreational activities, it also poses a potential problem, especially if warnings go unheeded throughout other portions of the year. The dangers associated from these elements extend beyond potentially restricting travel or losing power and homeowners should ensure they have taken all of the necessary precautions in order to avoid any potential damages associated with such conditions. Regular professional roof inspections can help to identify areas which may be subject to the damages associated with these weather elements in the event that they occur. Identifying and remedying suspect areas not only helps to protect your property but it also serves to keep both you and those who reside under the same roof, safe.

Think of annual roof inspections as a medical physical for your property. These routine checkups, whether warranted or not, can help to maintain a proper level of protection for your home. In addition, inspections should also be administered following any extreme weather event which may potentially cause damage. Completing these checks is not only responsible property management but also a great way to avoid being stuck with a higher bill for major repairs when minor steps could have been administered to avoid a larger problem. As winter continues, understanding the issues facing your roof associated with snow and ice can provide residents a focal point should Mother Nature deliver more than anyone bargained for this season or in the future.  


The shear weight of snow on a structure can cause collapse but many roofs are constructed with a certain slope in order to help alleviate this occurring. However, each and every roof is constructed differently and just because a certain area of your property has an existing slope for runoff, other portions may be flatter. It is here where inspections can point to potential problem areas allowing homeowners to be alerted should accumulations reach a critical level. In addition, rain, ice, and freezing/thawing conditions can all add additional weight to an already thick blanket of snow. If you suspect portions of your roof may be subject to collapse if forced to uphold an inordinate amount of snow then getting an annual inspection prior to the winter season is especially recommended.

Water Damage

Snow and ice can also be the culprit to water damage either through a collapse or basement flooding. If subject to a breach in the roof, then measures should be taken to safely secure the proximity of any leak either by covering the outside area or addressing impacts on the inside. Improper drainage may also cause the foundation around a home to leak which is also a common hazard associated with winter conditions. If your home is subject to flooding during heavy rains at other points of the year, remember winter can have a similar effect when melting occurs – especially if there has been a lot of accumulation. Both drainage issues and potential breaches may be tied to roof construction and professional inspections can help to avoid damaging issues. 

Ice Dam

Ice dams may also cause flooding or leaks in a roof when they go unattended. Usually the result of poor ventilation, these nuisances are formed when ice forms on the eaves of a home and prevents the melting snow atop a roof from flowing into the gutter and moving away from a property. If regular thawing and refreezing occurs, these ice dams may also become an issue for homeowners. Fortunately, having your roof, attic, or upper levels of a home properly ventilated will help to significantly reduce the likelihood of their formation.


Keeping your gutters free and clear of debris will also help to avoid ice dam formation caused by snowmelt backing up on the roof instead of being adequately removed from the structure. Leftover leaves, twigs, and other debris can pile up in a gutter over the course of a year so regular cleanings or a guard are helpful tactics to ensure that you avoid such a scenario. Downspouts should also be checked to be certain water can freely flow off a roof and away from the propertys foundation. Another critical component of your property, unfortunately, both the roof and gutter system often do not receive the care and attention they deserve. Make sure your home remains protected and give these areas the consideration they need.


If your roof is multi-layered, the propensity for drifts to cause abnormal piles of snow on a roof is increased. At these intersection points, snow and ice accumulations may reach higher amounts than at other places on the roof. Keep an eye on these spaces and take measures, safely, to clear any severe build up to avoid potential issues.


Snow and ice removal from a roof can be an especially daunting task, especially if outside conditions are not improving, but certain weather events may cause for assistance in clearing prior to natural melting. If this is the case, keep in mind not to cause any damage to your roof during the removal process. Leaving a layer of a few inches between the roof and what is being removed can avoid damaging the shingles or outer underneath materials. As always, safety is paramount when attempting to remove snow and ice prior to melting but certain circumstances could warrant having to act in order to protect your home.

With a wealth of knowledge and experience, quality service has been our priority in Denver and the surrounding area for years as we handle any and all roofing needs. Arvada Roofing and Construction has been completing roof installations, evaluations, and multiple other exterior household projects or associated services for nearly two decades. Their highly trained experts can provide an estimate on any repair, remodel, or now construction project, if needed, as well as any inspection you wish to have completed. Should you find yourself in a situation where you are concerned about the effectiveness of your roof or already have an issue, we are here to help. Our certified and extremely knowledgeable staff is available to handle any construction or roofing job and provide a variety of other services such as seamless guttering systems, or any potential damage analysis thought to be caused by severe weather for the purposes of insurance reporting. Contact us today online or call 303-432-2753 for your free estimate on any of the above mentioned projects!

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