How Winter Affects Your Roof

One important aspect often overlooked is the impact winter can have on your roof. Extreme cold temperatures, snow damage, ice buildup, and overall freezing conditions can significantly affect the integrity and performance of your asphaltsteel, or rubber roof.

From strong winds, to freezing water, to even in the worst cases roof collapse, there are a number of winter elements that could put extra stress on your roof during cold weather.

As winter in Wisconsin sets in, it brings a unique set of challenges for home and business owners. Let’s discuss the various ways winter weather can impact your roof and provide essential maintenance tips to help protect your home during the cold months.

Ice Dams

Ice Dams

A common roofing problem during the winter months is the formation of ice dams on roofs. Ice dams occur when heat from the interior of the house melts the snow on the roof, which then refreezes at the eaves.

This cycle creates an ice barrier that prevents proper drainage. In turn, this causes water to seep beneath shingles, creating potential damage to the roof structure.

Maintenance Tip:

To prevent ice dams, you’ll want to ensure that there is proper insulation and ventilation in your attic, as well as adequate sealing around chimneys, vents, and other openings.

Read More: Roofing Inspection Checklist

Snow Buildup

Snow Buildup

Another issue your roof may experience during the winter months (especially in January and February) is a lot of snow buildup.

Heavy snowfall can put significant stress on your roof. In the worst cases, the weight of accumulated snow can exceed the load capacity your roof was designed to handle, leading to structural damage or even collapse.

Maintenance Tip:

To help prevent too much snow accumulation, it’s important to remove snow as quickly (and safely!) as possible! If you’re comfortable with DIYing your snow and ice removal, you can use a roof rake.

Or, hire a local roofing professional to assist with very large snow buildup. Note: be sure to avoid using sharp tools or excessive force, as these can damage the shingles or underlying layers.

Contact ACS Roofing today and prevent snow damage!

Freeze Thaw Cycles

Freezing & Thawing

Winter weather in the state of Wisconsin can cause significant fluctuating temperatures, which, in turn, causes a cycle of freezing and thawing. When snow or ice melts during the day and refreezes overnight, it can lead to the formation of ice within the roof’s structure.

When the ice expands and contracts, it can significantly affect the integrity of your home’s roof. This can lead to leaks, cracks, or other roof damage. So, how can you help prevent this from happening?

Maintenance Tip:

We recommend that you contact your local roofing company for a regular inspection before and after freeze-thaw cycles to help find and address any issues in your roof system as quickly as possible.

Read More: Top 4 Roofing Tips for Wisconsin Weather



Another common issue you may notice during the cold winter months is the buildup of condensation. This often occurs in poorly insulated attics. Condensation appears whenever warm air from inside the home or business rises and meets the cold underside of the roof.

After a while, the condensation can lead to mold growth, rotting wood, and even a breakdown of insulation. Without any intervention, condensation can cause extensive interior home damage.

Maintenance Tip:

To help prevent condensation from getting out of hand, you’ll want to ensure that there is proper ventilation. Be sure that your soffit and ridge vents are unobstructed. You may also want to discuss with your roofing contractors or air quality experts about installing a vapor barrier to help reduce moisture buildup.

Read More: What is the Best Roofing Material for Inclement Weather?

Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters & Downspouts

Lastly, another way that winter affects your roof is by causing issues with your gutters and downspouts. During the winter season, you’ll need to periodically pay attention to your gutters and downspouts, since they play a critical role in keeping water away from your roof and foundation.

During the winter months, your gutters and downspouts may become clogged with ice, heavy, wet snow, or frozen debris. When this happens, water can overflow and seep into the roof or collect near the foundation, causing potential water damage.

Maintenance Tip:

To prevent this from happening, be sure to regularly clean your gutters and ensure they are securely attached to the roofline, especially during the autumn months before the snow flies. (In general, fall is the best time of year to install a roof or work on your gutters, etc., to prepare for winter).

Also, consider talking with your local roofing or gutter installation company about installing gutter guards on your home to prevent debris buildup.

Beyond these issues, you should check out our other article here about the different ways a roof can get damaged.

How Winter Affects Your Roof

Why Choose ACS Roofing?

Snow and ice buildup? Wind damage? Even a few inches of snow and ice can cause significant issues with your roof or gutter system. This is especially true throughout the months of November, December, January, February, and March.

At our Appleton roofing company, we know from personal experience how winter can impact the integrity of your home or business’ roof. We care about proper insulation, ventilation, regular inspections, and snow removal, as each are critical factors in keeping your roof well-maintained.

From ice dams, to missing shingles, to clogged gutters, our roofing contractors have been able to assist or provide recommendations to our Fox Valley clients since we first opened in 2003. Beyond Appleton, we also serve the areas in and around Menasha, KimberlyKaukauna, and Oshkosh.

Our Roofing Services

ACS Roofing provides professional roofing services and home improvement for both residential and commercial clients. These include roof installations, roof replacements, window installations/replacements, gutters, siding, and even custom garages.

We recommend following the maintenance tips listed in this article. If you have further questions about how winter affects your roof, please do not hesitate to reach out to our roofing contractors today and we’ll be happy to help you!


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