Home > Roofing > Guide To Preparing Your Roof for a Snowstorm

Guide To Preparing Your Roof for a Snowstorm

Updated Dec 8, 2022

Updated Dec 8, 2022

Home > Roofing > Guide To Preparing Your Roof for a Snowstorm

If you’re a new homeowner or new to owning a home in a cold climate, it’s critical to know how to prepare your roof for winter. While getting your roof ready for the winter season isn’t too difficult, it’s important to be prepared, especially for a winter storm. 

You’ll want to take certain steps if a snowstorm is coming. Below, you’ll find out what they are and more to ensure your roof doesn’t get damaged during a winter storm.

Why Is It Important To Prepare Your Roof Before a Winter Storm?

The roof of your home is integral to your safety and comfort. A buildup of snow and ice on your roof can result in leaks and other issues that have the potential to wreak havoc on the interior of your home. Winter storms are especially hard on your roofing system, with heavy snow and ice putting your roof under additional stress.

bad winter storm with snow covering roofs and homes
Image Source: Canva

When Is the Best Time To Prepare Your Roof for a Winter Storm?

The best time to prepare your roof for a snowstorm is before the winter months approach. Preparing your roof before the winter storm season can give you time to hire a roofing contractor if you have any major issues to address. However, if time gets away from you, most preparations are fairly simple and can be done quickly.

How To Prepare Your Roof for a Snowstorm

If a snowstorm is in the forecast, you’ll want to make sure you’re equipped to handle it. The following sections outline the steps you should take to prepare for a snowstorm and get your roof ready.

1. Perform an Initial Inspection of Your Roof

The first step to take when preparing your roof for severe weather is performing a roof inspection. It’s important to get this done as soon as possible so you have time to correct any issues you may find. 

Familiarize yourself with the anatomy of your roof, and be on the lookout for the following:

  • Broken flashing. Flashing helps keep water and snow from infiltrating the roof, especially around chimneys and skylights. Check for any broken flashing and repair or replace it as needed.
  • Missing covering or shingles. Shingles are the outermost protective layer of a roof. If there are any missing or damaged shingles, it may leave other parts of the roof susceptible to damage.
  • Noticeable sagging. Sagging may signify that reinforcement is needed to stand up to extra weight. 

2. Check the Insulation and Ventilation in Your Attic

Looking over the insulation and ventilation in your attic is crucial before a storm. Insulation is critical to keeping your home’s temperature comfortable during and after a storm, especially in the event of a power outage.

Proper attic ventilation maintains the temperature of your attic and roof and helps prevent ice dams from forming as snow melts. If ice dams form, you may face some of the following issues:

  • Gutter failure
  • Leaks
  • Loosened shingles
  • Mold and mildew

3. Look for Dead or Weak Trees

With winter storms come high winds, ice, and heavy snow. Though nature will take its course, you can proactively prevent unnecessary damage. 

Trimming dead tree branches can keep them from falling onto your roof. These are some common signs of a sick or dead tree:

  • Brittle bark
  • Fungus and insect infestation
  • Leaning heavily to one side

4. Double-check Your Gutters Before a Snowstorm

Clearing your gutters of leaf litter and debris is significant to maintain peak functionality. If there is a winter storm in your future, it’s especially important. Leaves can clog up and cause blockages in your gutters and downspouts, which can cause ice dams. 

The formation of ice dams may lead to further roof damage. While you check your gutters, ensure they are securely attached to the fascia boards, and that the fascia boards are secured against the house.

5. Anticipate and Prepare for Aftereffects

Anticipating the worst can help you be well-prepared for a snowstorm and any potential storm damage. Shoveling and clearing snow from your roof as quickly as possible can help prevent ice dams, roof leaks from melting snow, and structural load stress. 

Many snow removal and roofing companies offer this service. Make sure you have a few contacts to call if you feel unsafe going the DIY route and removing snow yourself.

homeowner clearing snow from the roof of a house
Image Source: Canva

Examining Your Roof After a Winter Storm

Checking your roof after a heavy snowfall is equally as important as preparing it beforehand. After a storm, you’ll want to inspect the attic and the roof as quickly as possible. Discovering and fixing any damage early on is the key to preventing long-term problems with the roof and interior of your home.

Inside of Your House

After a storm, check for any visible leaks in your house. Water damage will most often present as wet spots on the flooring of your attic or discolored spots on your ceiling.

Outside of Your House

Look for broken or cracked roofing material. You’ll also want to check if there is any damage to your gutters. It can be helpful to have a photo of your roof before the storm so you have something to refer to.

If you discover any problems like missing shingles or structural damage, you’ll want to contact your insurance company immediately after the storm to remediate any issues. Getting a professional roofing contractor to perform a secondary inspection is also a good idea.

Closing Thoughts

Making sure your roof is prepared before a snowstorm is critical to prevent unnecessary damage from ice dams and falling debris. While weathering the storm may feel stressful, taking a few steps to prepare your home can give you peace of mind.

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