How to Prevent Common Winter Roofing Issues

Between snow storms, fluctuating temperatures and ice, winter presents a lot of challenges to the integrity of your roof. Even in mild years, the potential for damage is very real and can even lead to the need for a full roof replacement. To preserve your roof, be sure to keep up on routine maintenance throughout the winter months.


Icicles may be beautiful, but they can also be damaging to your roof and gutter system. Icicles are caused by melting snow and ice that flow down and refreeze on the bottom portion of the roof. This process repeats over time, giving icicles their jagged, layered appearance. Small icicles usually aren’t a cause for concern, but large icicles can be a sign that the heat inside the home is escaping out through the roof or attic. The weight of large icicles also poses a threat to your gutter system.

Keep snow cleared off of your roof, especially after a heavy snowfall, using a push broom or roof rake. If you notice large icicles forming, especially in the same areas, inspect those gutters for debris or back-ups. They may be alerting you to a more serious problem: ice dams.

Ice Dams

Ice dams can range from a minor concern to a major repair nightmare, depending on how much snow and ice your roof has and how often the thawing and freezing cycle occurs over the season. Much like icicles, ice dams are caused when snow on top of the roof warms up and runs down only to refreeze on the bottom of the roof and gutters. This creates a barrier of ice, and as additional snow and ice melts and runs down behind this barrier, the water can leak into your home through small cracks in the roof.

A well-insulated attic space and roof prevents too much heat from escaping the top of your house. As with icicle prevention, clear snow and ice off from your roof as much as possible. If you notice ice dams in your gutters, or icicles forming on your siding, consider calling in a professional for an inspection.

Leaks from Flashings

Flashings are metal strips, usually on sloped roofs, that run along the edges and corners of your roof, as well as around the chimney. They can begin to pull away from the roof over time, due to improper installation or the elements, which can cause water to leak in.

Inspect your flashings regularly for any sign of damage or wear. If your flashings are beginning to pull up or show other signs of aging, they may need to be replaced to prevent a costly leak.

Animals Taking Up Shelter

As animals seek shelter from the cold, a warm roof may seem like the perfect spot. This can also be an issue in the spring as well, when animals typically start to nest. Animals and other pests can damage your roof or attic space, destroy insulation, and leave behind droppings that carry disease.

To prevent animals from getting into your roof or attic, remove anything that would help them gain access. Keep any objects stored around the perimeter of the home away from the siding so they can’t be used to climb up under the roof. Trim tree branches that are near your home. Inspect regularly for signs of animal infiltration by looking for chew marks or droppings in your attic or crawl space.

Although winter can present a challenge to your roof, these preventative steps can stop minor issues before they become major ones that threaten your roof or home structure. The best way to assess whether your roof needs additional work is to contact a professional. Give North Shore Roofing a call at (978) 977-3816 and we can discuss any issues you’ve been experiencing. Be sure to visit us on Facebook at for more information.