Common Winter Roof Problems

Your roof is exposed to the elements day after day, with some of the harsher conditions being the heat of summer and the cold and ice of winter.

Regularly maintaining your roof is the first step in preventing leaks and other issues, but winter can cause havoc on it anyway.

There are a few common winter roof problems you should be aware of so you can take action.

Ice Dams

An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms on the edge of a roof, preventing the water from melting snow and ice from draining off the roof and away from your home. This presents many problems for your home if it is not taken care of immediately.

The pressure that occurs on the shingles from the built-up ice can cause them to break down quicker than normal, leading to further damage and even leaks. The cracks and joints in your roof may allow the standing water to leak into your home, damage the foundation, walls, floor, and your belongings.

Snow is the key factor in ice dams. You can remove snow from your roof to help prevent ice dams. Without snow to melt and refreeze to form ice, the conditions for ice dams won’t be met.

If your roof already has an ice dam, you’ll want to find a way for the water behind the ice to drain before it can seep into your home and cause more problems. In case you are dealing with an ice dam, you’ll probably want to call in the professionals.


Condensation occurs when warm air meets a cold surface. This isn’t usually a problem, but excess condensation can cause problems such as mold and mildew buildup. The condensation can also cause moisture to build up in the shingles and over the course of winter, this can wear them down.

If your attic is properly insulated, you won’t have to worry about condensation. However, an attic that isn’t properly insulated is a key candidate in condensation build-up. You can address and correct this problem by installing insulation.

Flashing Leaks

Flashing is the metal that is installed on your roof where the chimney, skylights, and other areas of the roof where two parts meet. While flashing is made to withstand the weather, it can wear down over time. Flashing leaks are common in winter when ice and snow start melting on the roof.

Heavy winds can cause the flashing to loosen which leads to leaks in your home. You can prevent flashing leaks by regularly inspecting it every 6 months or so. This is particularly important before winter since melting snow can create a lot of water runoff.

Strong Winds

In some areas, winter is known for having stronger winds than any other season. Consistent strong winds can put a beating on the shingles of your roof, loosening them or pulling them off completely.

There isn’t much you can do about strong winds except to remain proactive in repairing damage as it occurs. You can also have shingles installed that come with a wind warranty, reducing the risk of strong winds causing problems.

Tree Limbs

Tree limbs can cause a lot of issues for your roof, especially if they’re more than just small branches. Since winter usually brings strong winds, tree branches may find their way onto your roof or worse- through your roof.

You can prevent the risk of tree limb damage to your roof by trimming your trees before winter hits. It’s recommended to trim branches within 6 feet of your home and roof. This will also help keep critters away from your home.


Icicles may look nice and give a winter wonderland feel to your home, but they pose a risk to not just your roof, but to people and pets too. Icicles form when gutters and downspouts are clogged, and the water has nowhere to run off except over the gutter.

Under the excessive weight of the icicles, your gutters and roof may experience damage as well. The best way to prevent this winter roof problem is to keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris so water can flow freely.


If disaster strikes, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Shamrock Roofing for quick assistance! We remain committed before, during, and after the storm for your peace of mind.