Can the cold weather damage my roof?

Like summer heat, the winter cold brings challenges for our roofs as well. Whether you have a pitched or flat roof, it helps to be aware of the potential dangers cold weather can have on it, so we are focusing on what you need to look out for during winter this month. Read on for some basic things to keep in mind when the forecast turns particularly cold or snowy.

Heavy snow

Although we don’t get very heavy snow falls in the UK on a regular basis, they do happen – remember the Beast from the East last year? Heavy snow falls can add significant weight not only to your roof but to your home’s structure as a whole. Another problem with snow on a roof is the potential creation of an ice dam once the snow starts to melt. An ice dam will occur when snowmelt freezes as temperatures drop again at night, especially if it becomes trapped behind an obstacle such as your home’s guttering. As water melts and can’t escape it could lead to a number of problems such as: finding its way into your home causing leaks and escalating into a mould problem, adding weight to your roof, or blocking your guttering, to name a few. When water freezes and becomes ice it expands which can create cracks in your tiling and shingles as well.

Cracked shingles and tiles

Even if you don’t have a build-up of snow on your roof, our humid British climate means that there is often a lot of moisture in the air. When temperatures plummet, this can freeze and expand into ice. Water will find its way into any nook and cranny, such as on the edges of roof tiles or your roof flashing, and as it expands it can lead to lifting. Over time this will either create an avenue for a leak to occur or it will warp and lift your tiles or flashing potentially causing much bigger, more sudden, leaks when it melts or when it rains.

Skylight problems

Water and snow accumulation on a roof that has a skylight – or a roof lantern – can also lead to leaks if the seals are damaged. Such damage could be the result of deteriorating seals over time, poor installation, or previous water freezing and melting causing weaknesses in joints and seals.


It is tempting to want to get on to the roof and clear off any snow in order to prevent potential problems further down the line. However, that should only be attempted if you know that it can be done safely, and you know how to do it properly. Otherwise it is always best to get a professional in to do it for you; they will not only be trained and experienced, but they will also have the right tools for the job.

Are you worried that your roof may not survive the winter? Have you got any questions around keeping your roof and your home safe and waterproof during the colder months? Give us a call at Roof Rescue and we will be happy to answer any questions, undertake an inspection, or make any necessary repairs. Give us a call on 020 3189 1618 for a chat or to make an appointment whenever you need us.

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