How Ice Affects Your Roof

The Third Estimate

Apr 28, 2022

Ice and snow affect your roof in different ways depending on the material used.

If you live in Florida, you might not need to worry about ice and snow, but if you're one of those in the frigid north ice and snow can be a huge concern for you. Snow and ice can build up on roofs, causing the roof to buckle and even cave in! This is especially of concern if you have a flat roof.

  • Expansion causing cracks - If there are gaps or cracks in your shingles or anywhere on your roof, it's possible for water to seep in. Once water freezes, it expands magnifying problems. The expansion of water inside a crack will expand the crack and can cause leaks and water damage.

  • Ice Dams - These are caused by water flowing down the roof and freezing at the edge. Ice dams can cause terrible damage to gutters and even rip flashing away from the roof.

  • Stress from the weight of ice and snow - During the winter, accumulating ice and snow on your roof cause stress from the additional weight. This weight can actually cause a cave in!

In order to prevent damage from ice and snow, you should follow a few common sense practices throughout the year:

  • If your roof is advanced beyond its lifespan and needs to be replaced, be sure to choose materials that will withstand the winter weather in your location.

  • Clean your roof at least twice per year to prevent damage. The best times are early spring, and the end of fall to prepare for the extreme weather that follows.

  • Continually inspect your roof visually. You should keep a constant eye out for any areas of damage, checking for missing shingles, or other areas of damage. A professional inspector can be of great help to you and inspect more in depth.

Ice and snow affect your roof in different ways depending on the material used. Following are a few different types of roofing material and how they are affected by winter precipitation:

  • Wood - This is a great choice for warmer, drier climates, but wood roofs lack strong resistance to water damage.

  • Copper - Copper roofs have a life expectancy of 50 or more years. It can stand up to mold and other weater-related damages including hail.

  • Clay - Clay tile roofing is usually associated with Spanish homes, but this type of roof, while more expensive to install initially, is very sturdy and able to stand up to winter well. Air is trapped beneath the tiles acting as a natural insulator and inhibiting the formation of ice dams and freeze and thaw damage.


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Akron, Ohio; Avon Lake, Ohio; Rocky River, Ohio; Westlake, Ohio; Aurora, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Shaker Heights, Ohio; Northfield, Ohio; Avon, Ohio; Hudson, Ohio; Solon, Ohio; Twinsburg, Ohio