How to Prevent 4 Common Winter Roofing Hazards
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How to Prevent 4 Common Winter Roofing Hazards

Winter can be tough on your roof, but you don’t need us to tell you that. From high winds to large snow loads, it puts up with a lot to keep your family safe.

Unfortunately, even the most well-made and well-maintained roof can take a hit from our state’s crazy weather. When temps surge below zero, a faulty roof isn’t just an inconvenience—in the right circumstances, it could be downright life-threatening.

The good news: many winter roofing hazards are easily available. You just need to know your enemy, so to speak. Below, GCM Construction & Maintenance is here to help you do just that with a post on how to sidestep some common cold-weather conundrums.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are caused when snow melts on your roof, rolls down to the eaves, or refreezes. These nasty formations result in puddles of water that become backed up behind ridges of ice—hence their name.

While a little standing water might not seem like much of an issue, when your roof can’t shed it, it can worm its way under your shingles and reach your attic, causing everything from damp insulation to rotting roof structures.

Preventative Measures Against Ice Dams

There are a variety of ways that ice dams can form, and thus a variety of ways that you can act preventatively. Adequate roofing ventilation can help regulate your roofing’s temperature so it stays cold, preventing ice dams from forming.

Equally important is insulation. Too much or too little attic insulation can cause drafts that keep the whole house cold or trap heat that leads to ice dams and moisture retention in your house. The goal is to have a cold attic and warm house. Have your roof and attic inspected at least once a year (fall is a good time) to ensure you have the adequate insulation to prevent ice dams.

If Ice Dams Do Form

If it’s too late in the season for preventative measures and you do find ice dams forming across your roofline, have them professionally removed. Don’t risk being on a ladder or your roof when a pro is trained for it. And don’t attempt to break off icicles by hitting them or pulling on them. You’ll only cause your shingles, roofing, and gutters to break. Hire a professional.

Wet Insulation

Your home depends on its insulation to stay warm through the winter, but that insulation can’t do its job if it’s all soggy! Excessive frost in the attic or leaks from ice dams can cause this problem, which can leave you with sky-high energy bills and a chilly house to boot.

Keep out the Moisture

The best way to handle this moisture-related menace is to have a roofing company take a look at your insulation/ventilation ratio as a preventative measure, as an imbalance can cause condensation. You’ll also need to monitor your home for ice dams and quickly pursue the necessary roof repair should you find them.


Yes, mold! If your insulation is wet, your roof is poorly aerated, or ice dams have had their way with it, this issue could very well rear its ugly head. Mold can grow surprisingly quickly once it gains a foothold within your ceilings and walls, and it can be an exceedingly expensive headache to remove.

Stop Mold Before It Starts

Luckily, preventing mold growth in the attic is generally as simple as preventing both of the other problems we talked about, as it cannot grow without moisture. Through regular roofing inspections from a qualified roofing contractor, those problem areas can be spotted before they snowball into something worse.

Busted Gutters

Another hazard of snow, ice, and the formation of ice dams is broken gutter systems. The weight of ice and snow piling along roof edges and on gutters can become so heavy it breaks gutters off houses, especially when gutters are clogged. And since water expands as it freezes, your gutters and downspouts can burst from too much frozen pressure.

Clean out Gutters to Prevent Breakage

Keep your gutters functioning well all winter by taking a little time in the fall to clean them out. Remove leaves, seeds, and debris, and keep the whole gutter system and downspouts as clear as possible before the winter weather sets in. By doing so, you’re ensuring that water always moves away from your house as it melts.

You may want to consider installing a gutter system with guards or screens to better control leaves and debris, too. Speak with our roofing and gutter specialists to help you determine if gutter guards can be installed on your property before the cold hits.

GCM Construction & Maintenance: Your Home’s Winter Defenders

All the roofing services you need are under one roof: GCM Construction & Maintenance. From preventative assistance to storm damage repairs, our team will keep you safe this winter!

Roofing and gutters is not all we do, either. Find out more about our siding installation and repair services and our window and door replacement installations! Give our Eden Prairie office a call today at 952-922-5575.

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