How to Protect Your Roof from Snow & Ice Damage

In La Plata, we’re no strangers to snow and ice. And while the season calls for a fair bit of it, and it can be quite pretty to look at, it can also cause quite a bit of trouble if left unchecked. The roofing team at Southernwood Roofing & Siding is here to talk to you about how snow and ice can have an impact on your roof, what the dangers are, and what to do about it!

How Can Snow & Ice Damage Your Roof?

While the sheer weight of a heavy snow might be the first thing that comes to mind, most properly installed and maintained roofs can weather some additional weight for a considerable amount of time. The true risks of snow and ice comes from the process of thawing and refreezing, which allows these conditions to damage and potentially invade your home.

When snow lands on your roof, it can be exposed to a certain amount of warmth that is radiating up from your home (this is particularly an issue if your attic is poorly insulated and ventilated). This makes the underlying layer of snow melt (what we call “quick melt”). As this melting snow begins to run, however, it will refreeze. This can:

  • Pull up shingles or material, allowing melted water into your home that will lead to roof leaks and water damage.
  • Run into gutters and refreeze, leaving massive and heavy blocks of ice in the gutters. This will very easily lead to gutter damage or gutter collapse!
  • Create large ice dams on the roof that can compact and form into exceptionally heavy sections of material that can cause roof damage—this also creates dams that block proper water flow off of your roof, preventing proper drainage.

How to Prevent Snow & Ice Problems


To avoid damage to your roof from snow and ice, be sure to maintain a properly insulated attic and home, which will help you avoid the negative effects of quick melt. Outside of this, it’s all about consistent maintenance. When we get a heavy snow, you should:

  • Carefully inspect gutters to ensure they’re clear of snow and ice—this facilitates healthy draining as the snow melts
  • Inspect the roof for considerable accumulations of ice
  • Consider installing soffit vents. The soffits are the surface under the eaves of your roof, and properly venting this area is integral to avoiding ice dams
  • Consider installing heat tape along your gutters, which will ensure the gutters do not build up icicles and dams

We would suggest that you never use rock salt on your roof! Rock salt, or calcium chloride, can be highly corrosive and will damage most roof materials.

What to Do If You Have Excessive Ice on Your La Plata Roof

If your roof does accumulate excessive amounts of snow or ice, your best bet is to contact a roofing contractor! Mild amounts of snow can be cleared with a snow rake, but larger amounts should be handled with the tools of a professional. Avoid trying to break ice dams off with a tool. Ice dams adhere to your roof materials, and attempting to knock them away can often damage the materials underneath.

Need help with your roof this year? Contact Southernwood Roofing & Siding or give us a call at 301-934-0043 to find out more!

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