Impact of Snow and Ice on Your Roof

Massachusetts residents are used to the winter storms, but they can really wreak havoc on our homes, especially the impact of built up snow and ice on the roof. Here are some typical snow and ice impacts on our roofs – and what to look for.

What are the impacts of snow and ice on your roof?

Like all things with your home, even the most durable roofs are susceptible to the harsh winters and strong forces such as water, snow, and ice.

Over time, the natural shifting of your home and wear and tear after big storms can cause small problems.

snow and ice on a residential roof.

1. The weight of ice and snow on roofs can put pressure on your roofing system.

That roof adorned with a thick layer of freshly fallen snow may look beautiful, but with comes a lot of weight and stress on the roofing system. Lightly packed snow can weigh anywhere from 5-20 pounds per square foot. That can be even higher when very densely packed or mixed with ice. Some signs that the ice and snow on roofs include sagging roofs and broken rafters – and those require attention from professional roofers.

Areas of your roof with isolated build up also can be an area of concern and can lead to small leaks or even (the worst case scenario), a roof cave-in.

2. The frequency of freeze and thaw of snow, ice, and water

During the winter months here in Massachusetts, the temperatures constantly bounce between above and below freezing. This means a constant cycle of melt and refreeze of precipitation on our roofs for several months of the year.  

Water (melted snow and ice) can seep into the smallest of cracks in your roofing system as your roof ages. If water gets into a small space, and then refreezes when the temperature drops, it expands into ice. The expansion can lead to bigger cracks, and create small shifts in your roofing system (creating more new cracks).  

3. Ice Dams can physically damage your roof and cause internal leaks

Ice dams are large blocks of ice that form on your roof as a result of melting and refreezing. If you have a large buildup of snow on your roof, it can begin to melt due to external temperatures or too much heat coming from the attic. 

On a sloped roof, the melted snow will drip down towards the roof’s edge like it’s supposed to. However, the problem becomes when it refreezes as it meets the cold gutter or other cold components.

If these chunks of ice become too heavy to be supported by the gutters, they can bend the gutters or even rip them off entirely.   

What can be worse are ice dams that create pools of melted water that back up under the asphalt shingles. When the water pools where it’s not supposed to, it can drip water inside the home and cause expensive water damage and mold issues.

If you discover visible ice dams on your home, give us a call. We have emergency roof repair services available all year round.

Schedule your roof inspection with Golden Group Roofing

Frequent inspections can catch these small problems before they become big problems. Schedule your roof inspection with Golden Group Roofing today, or call (508) 873-1884 to speak to our roofing team.