How Do Snow and Ice Affect Your Roof?

Snow drifts on the roof after the snowfall. In the background, the sky is covered with gray clouds. Roofs of the house, garage and shed in the snow. Three snow pyromids

Does your roof suffer when snow and ice hit it? According to the forecast we are due for the first snowfall of 2022 here in the St. Charles County area. This is both exciting and potentially devastating. Did you know that your roof takes a serious beating when snowfall and ice end up sitting on it for a long period of time? 

The local forecast here in St. Charles County is calling for one to three inches of snow this weekend. That’s plenty of snow to accumulate on top of your roof. It’s also enough extra weight to cause unforeseen issues with your roof. In a previous blog post, we shared with you 5 Simple Ways To Maintain Your Roof In January. These are definitely some great tips to ensure your roof remains in good condition during one of the coldest months of the year here in the St. Charles County area.

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Your roof experiences stress

Humans experience stress, right? Well, your roof experiences stress as well. It’s not the emotional kind of stress. Rather, it’s a physical kind of stress. The reason for it is because, during cold weather, snow, and ice additional weight accumulates on your roof. When it rains, water slopes to the lowest point of your roof until it reaches the gutters. Then the gutters do their job and channel the water to the ground where it spits out. 

Snow adds weight that your roof isn’t used to. Especially as it accumulates. For every two feet of snow in accumulation, there is approximately 19 tons of added weight. Chances are that the upcoming storm will not accumulate two feet of snow or more on your roof. Even though any kind of snowstorm, in reality, is quite unpredictable until it plays itself out. Underneath that snow accumulation, it will start to freeze unless it thaws out fast enough. 

During wintertime as the snow melts unless it warms up cold temperatures will cause it to freeze. So, now you have frozen patches of ice and more added weight on your roof. 

Watch out for ice dams

We know what you’re thinking. Ice dams? Yes, indeed! Once enough ice accumulates on your roof it can create ice dams. This happens when the snow on your roof begins to melt and starts to slope down your roof. In this process, the snow and ice will reach the tip of your roof right at the beginning of your gutters. Watch out! The snow and ice will freeze here. It will create a potential hazard where it can break the roof flashing. 

It can also break your gutters due to excessive weight that your gutters aren’t used to handling. While you might think that your gutters are attached safely and securely, you may be surprised. In a previous article, we discussed all about ice dams. Make sure that you are familiar with this and know what to expect. 

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Are your gutters clean?

Most people have a tendency to forget to clean their gutters. This is something that is typically done at the beginning of the fall. It can also be repeated at the beginning of wintertime. Especially here in the St. Charles County area where winters are generally mild. As result, the temperatures aren’t crazy cold and you can still climb up on a small ladder. The reason for this is that fall leaves can accumulate inside your gutters. This can create a plethora of problems as it gets colder. 

If your gutters aren’t clean, your roof will suffer. There could also be other damage as a side effect. When the snow accumulates it will eventually melt. Once it melts it will slope down to your gutters. If the gutters are full of leaves it will weigh down the gutters to the point of potentially breaking them. Because of the dirty gutters full of leaves, branches, twigs, or other debris the water has nowhere to drain. 

  • Grab a small ladder and climb up on the roof if possible. If not, get as close to the gutters as possible.
  • User your leaf blower to blow out any debris or leaves stuck in your gutters. Worst case scenario, you can use the long end of your broom if you don’t have a leaf blower.
  • Shake out any of the debris so it exits the gutters and/or remove it manually.

Having clean or clear gutters is one of the best things you can do prior to snow accumulation. It will ensure that any water as a result of snowmelt can drain. Therefore prolonging the life of your roof and gutters in helping the water drain properly. 

Clean your roof if necessary

One of the biggest mistakes that you want to avoid is allowing the snow to sit on your roof for a long period of time. Snowstorms that bring a few inches of snow aren’t something to terribly worry about. It’s what usually happens here in the St. Charles Country area in most cases. However, the exception to that is the snow freezes and turns into ice. 

It can happen! In fact, any snow accumulation that exceeds one inch in overall thickness can essentially turn into a giant sheet of ice. That one inch of ice then becomes an excessive weight on your roof that you have to worry about. Allowing that giant sheet of ice to sit on your roof for a long period of time will attribute to the stress we mentioned above. It’s important to keep your roof clean if the snow accumulates and settles for a longer period of time. You can pick up a snow roof rake to help you with the cleaning of the snow. 


It’s always better to have some level of preparation than none for a snowstorm. Predicting the severity of a snowstorm like the one set for St. Charles County area this weekend is extremely difficult. Pay attention to the local forecast. Observe the change in weather. Monitor the amount of snow accumulation. If snow sticks around for longer than a day or two it’s probably time to consider cleanup with the roof rake. Especially if the temperatures begin to dip below freezing point quite fast. The last thing you want on your roof is a giant sheet of ice. 

Give us a call today at (636) 699-0449 or request your free inspection today. If you’re in the St. Charles County area and looking for an experienced roofing and siding contractor, we are bringing forth over 20 years of experience in the roofing industry. That’s something you can trust and especially if we’re in your neck of the woods.