Icy roads, freezing temperatures, even the occasional falling icicle—winter is dangerous enough for people, but your roof must contend with its fair share of seasonal hazards too.

While these hazards are unlikely to be dangerous to your health if you’ve properly attended to roofing maintenance, if preventative action isn’t taken, they can lead to anything from leaks to isolated mold infestations to higher energy bills. If you’ve never looked at winter from your roof’s point of view, be prepared for some shockers and to be a whole lot more thankful for what the structure does for you!

Midwest Exteriors MN, your trusted Lake Elmo roofing contractors, is here with four things your roof must contend with to keep your family warm, dry, and safe—and how to stop those things from serious household damage.

1) Ice Dams

A ubiquitous Minnesotan threat, ice dams form thanks to uneven heat distribution on your roof. In short, when warm air melts snow on your shingles, that water rolls down to your colder eaves, where it rapidly refreezes into ice. As the problem builds, water “dams up” behind the ice, hence the structure’s name.

If you think your roof can handle a little water, you’d technically be right; with the help of your gutter installation, it sheds spring rains each year. But no roof is designed to hold up to standing water, as its slope is supposed to prevent this problem. Ice dams can absorb water through sub-shingle layers, causing everything from leaks to soggy insulation to mold.

While we at Midwest Exteriors MN are more than happy to provide top-notch ice dam removal services, the best medicine is preventative—which we’ll touch on below.

How to Prevent Them

The UMN Extension has a wonderful article on the subject: “Dealing With and Preventing Ice Dams.” In very simple terms, though, the solution is to keep the exterior of your roof sufficiently cold. This can be difficult to do if the temperatures suddenly soar, as they’re known to do in our state—you’re not going to climb up there with ice packs!  

A good first step is to ensure your roof doesn’t emit so much warm air through your home that it melts the snow and causes issues. This is generally accomplished through adding roofing insulation or ventilation; check out our roofing company blog, “The Importance of Proper Roofing Ventilation,” to learn more about one side of the subject.

2) Icicles

They’re a glistening wintertime symbol of the holidays—but they can be a lot more nefarious of a sign than they look! While icicles, if they get large enough, subject the passerby to potential collision damage, they also can prove problematic as far as your roof goes, as they can often be a symptom of  the aforementioned ice dams.

However, this only goes for large ones. A little touch of winter spirit and your roof should be fine; it’s only when icicles get conspicuous, making your home look like an uninhabited far Northern cottage, that you should start to suspect ice dams.

How to Prevent Them

Again, icicles usually are a symptom that damage is occurring, not damaging your roof themselves—but if they get onto your gutters, that’s another story, as the extra weight can drain the system’s longevity, thus damaging your roof, too. The best way to rid your home of unwanted icicles is to prevent ice dams in the first place, a topic that we’ve already covered.

If you’re currently dealing with this problem, contact an ice dam removal service. Knocking off large icicles on your own can prove dangerous, and it doesn’t stop the ice dam from simply occurring again—a problem that a qualified storm damage repair specialist can attend to.

3) Snow Load

Very rarely, if ever, does the sheer amount of snow on your roof actually become a serious safety threat—unless your roof has been seriously neglected or in cases of extreme weather. However, if your roof already has a leak, said snow can become a real problem.

If warm air were to somehow melt that snow or a gust were to blow it into the leak, insulation beneath the area could become damp, which potentially sets the stage for mold growth.

How to Prevent Problems

As we said, snow on its own rarely becomes an issue when proper precautions are taken; when you’ve got roof leaks, your attic’s innards become vulnerable to moisture damage. The solution: proper professional roofing winterization! A pre-winter checkup from a roofing contractor can make sure your attic and roof are both standing strong come spring.

4) Freezing Rain

Freezing rain may seem harmless, as it doesn’t visibly show quite like snow, but it can surprisingly be very harmful to your roofing. This type of rain can lead to a lot of stress on your roof, as it solidifies once it touches the roof surface and eventually melts into the surface it has frozen upon. Water damage can worsen over time, and freezing rain can be an unfortunate participant in the process.

How to Prevent Further Damage

Midwest Exteriors MN can look at your roof for any damage, and help prevent it in the future! We can help with extra insulation, checking for proper ventilation, or any necessary installations to help prevent freezing rain damage for winters to come!

3 Signs Your Roofing Is Stressed From Winter

If your roofing has experienced previous winters ill-prepared of ice dams, heavy snow, and large icicles, you may need to check for signs of stress. Although your roof may be covered with snow, you can look for damage and stress from the inside as well!

-          Check for Water Damage or Mold. You can look for any staining, water leaking, excess moisture, and even mold. Strange stains and watermarks can be a sign that your roof or gutters may need to be looked at!

-          Light in The Attic. If you’re able to go up to your attic, it can be a good way to check for wear and tear. If you can see any light sneaking in through the exterior of your attic, you may want to get it looked at.

-          Critters in Walls or Attic. If you happen to notice any mice or other creatures roaming around or leaving pellets around, it is a possible and good sign that your roofing may have some residual damage or holes allowing some extra roommates in.

If you want more information on these signs of stress from winter, Midwest Exteriors is here to help! Looking into damage or wear is the best way to get ahead of stress spreading or damage getting worse.

Midwest Exteriors MN: Your Preferred Lake Elmo Roofing Company

We’re a dedicated team of home and condo contractors here to help guard your home against Minnesota winters. Give us a call today at 651-346-9477.