Expert Advice: Wintertime Roof Care

Winter’s strong winds, ice, and heavy snow can be hard on your roof, potentially causing damage and even cave-ins. To avoid hassle with your insurance and to extend the life of your shingles, winter maintenance is a must. Read on to learn our BP-certified roofing experts’ roof maintenance tips for keeping your home safe and dry in winter.

Four wintertime roof-maintenance tips

1. Clear the snow from your roof when necessary

To avoid excessive snow and ice accumulation, we strongly recommend clearing your roof from time to time in winter—when weather conditions are favourable, of course!

A roof can generally hold 20 lbs of precipitation per square foot. This roughly translates to:

– 4 feet of freshly fallen snow, or
– 2 feet of compact snow, or
– 4 inches of ice

Since excess weight can weaken your roof, keep an eye out for:

  • Doors and windows that are difficult to open or close

  • Cracks forming on your inner walls

  • A deformed ceiling

If you spot any of these signs in your house, clear your roof of snow as soon as you can. Also, accumulated snow at the base of your roof can create ice dams. These cause water to infiltrate your home, as we saw in our article on eave protection.

2. Don’t take a pickaxe to your roof!

It’s important to clear the snow off your roof, but don’t take undue risks!

For example, don’t climb up on your roof with a shovel—and definitely not with a pickaxe! In addition to putting your own safety at risk, you could damage your shingles by “striking” them or “digging” too deep. And that would be the opposite of what you were trying to do when you took out your ladder!

Instead, use a telescopic shovel or a roof rake to remove the snow. Using these tools, which cost around $40, you can clear your eaves from the safety of the ground without damaging your roof.

We even recommend leaving a layer of snow on your roof to serve as a protection and to keeps you from scraping the granules off your shingles.

3. Check the water flow in your gutters

As the weather warms up, most of the snow on your roof will melt. This is when your eave protection and gutters play a vital role in keeping your home dry. You want to keep snowmelt from freezing or stagnating! During thaws, check that this water is flowing down through your gutters. If you don’t see any water coming out of your downspouts, it is likely a sign that:

  • The snowmelt is blocked and cannot reach it

  • The snowmelt is evacuating by another location

Both of these scenarios can lead to water infiltration and damage to you building, so make sure your gutters are not clogged with ice and that the snowmelt can get to them all around your roof.

4. Call on an expert

Of course, the best way to avoid injury and damage to your roof is to call in the professionals. They are equipped to clear snow using best practices. Using the right tools and professional techniques, expert snow removal is quick and easy.

Don’t know who to call? Use our locator tool to find a certified roofer near you. If they do not offer snow removal services themselves, they will likely be able to recommend a qualified professional.