What Problems Can Snow and Ice Cause to Your Roof?


During the winter months, homeowners are usually so concerned with the ice and snow in the driveways and walkways that they neglect the ice and snow building up on their roof. Snow and ice on a roof presents a very different issue, but one that should be taken very seriously.

Homes are designed to mitigate issues with winter weather’s effect on your roof, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still cause problems. Ice dams, condensation in your attic, and falling ice or snow are just a few of the issues a roof in need of attention can face in winter.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are more likely to occur on flat roofs, but homeowners with angled roofs also must be wary of them. When snow on the peak of the house melts and runs down the roof, but can’t reach the gutters, it can re-freeze. As ice accumulates, a dam is formed, exacerbating the problem. When water pools behind an ice dam, it starts going back up the roof, and can get under roofing materials. Standing water on a roof will always be at risk of leaking inside the home. 

If that water is allowed to continually melt and re-freeze, the cycle will only serve to expose weaknesses in your roof or create new ones. Ice dams must be cleared as soon as they begin to form. Good attic ventilation and quickly addressing roof damage are good preventative measures.

Condensation in the Attic

Moisture in the area between your living space and your roof should be the driest place in the house. Any type of water or water vapor in your attic is like a ticking time bomb in terms of keeping your house protected from the elements.

When condensation reaches your attic, wet wood will start to rot. Left unchecked, your roof’s support structure will weaken over time, making you more susceptible to major issues.

Clothes dryers and bathroom exhaust fans should never be vented into your attic, but should always vent directly outside. If warm, moist air is being pumped into your attic when temps are below freezing, it’s going to condense and freeze on any surface.


In parts of the country that experience heavy snowfalls at times, just the weight of too much snow can also be a problem. Roofs are designed to withstand a heavy load, but over time they can weaken. Too much snow on a roof can cause snow slides, which are especially dangerous over entryways. Get enough snow, and you may also experience complete or partial collapses from the weight.

Avoiding Problems

Though it may be tempting to take matters into your own hands, keeping roofs clean of ice and snow should be left to a professional. Roofs are tricky enough to maneuver in perfect weather. If there is ice and snow present, you are asking for a disaster trying to remedy the problem yourself.

Chipping away at roof ice can lead to unintended damage to shingles. Salt or calcium chloride tossed on to the roof can rust out your gutters, downspouts, and flashings. It can also negatively impact grass or landscaping.

For any matters dealing with your roof, it’s always best to call in a professional to assess and repair the situation. If you’ve got an ice and snow problem on your roof, or condensation in your attic, contact our team at All-Nu Construction, Toledo’s roof repair experts.