Preparing the roof for winter: an action plan for the responsible owner of the house

As winter draws near, getting your roof ready is essential to protecting your house from the inclement weather. By being proactive now, you can shield your roof from the weather and avoid expensive repairs. Here’s a responsible homeowner’s guide to getting your roof ready for winter.

Start by giving your roof a thorough inspection. Keep an eye out for any damage indicators, such as loose flashing, cracked or missing shingles, or any places where water may seep through. By taking care of these problems in advance, you can keep them from getting worse during winter storms.

For appropriate drainage, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean. Water backup from clogged gutters can harm your roof and the interior of your house. Clear away any debris, such as sticks and leaves, to allow melting ice and snow to flow freely away from your home.

Prune branches that hang over your roof. These branches may break under the weight of heavy snow or ice, damaging your roof. You can lessen the chance that branches will result in more serious damage or expensive repairs by keeping them trimmed back.

Roof cleaning

Any trash on the roof could serve as a snow "anchor." And the water will just shimmer through the leaf-clogged waterproof, turning to ice and a picket fence of icicles. Thus, the roof and drainage system are cleaned first in order to get ready for winter. Make sure to obtain insurance before beginning any work, and never move around the roof without a fixed cable—not even for a short while.

Roofing cleaning and processing

All debris, including branches, leaves, moss pads, and lichens, is removed from the roof during cleaning. Clear the dirt and dust as well. This is required because, when giving from the roof, the snow layer traps sand and trash behind him, scratching the roofing. Even tiny grains of sand crushed to the surface of the roof with heavy snow starts to act as an abrasive. It is best to trim any wood branches that hang over the roof since a heavy snowfall can snap even seemingly sturdy branches, causing damage to the roof.

Clean the roof with the skate first. Trash from a corrugated or metal roof is as easy as sweeping it up with a brush and, in the worst situations, using a plastic shovel. Scrapers and metal brushes are used to carefully clean complex pollution off other roofing materials so as not to harm any protective layer that may be present.

The cleaning is done on dry, sunny days to ensure safety. Should it rain on the evening of the scheduled cleaning, it is moved to the following day because there might not be enough time for the roofing to dry. Furthermore, even with safety features, walking on a wet roof can be dangerous due to its slippery surface.

It’s best to wash the slope after cleaning it. To ensure that all the dirt is washed away, it is better to use a high-pressure sink. However, you can use a standard hose. Soft detergents are used in cases of extreme pollution, as advised by the roofing manufacturer. For any kind of coating, caustic and abrasive detergents are not appropriate.

How to clean a drain with your own hands

Roof drain systems are particularly susceptible to pollution. If you place a small armful of leaves in the wrong spot, it can completely clog the drain and cause water to start pouring out of the gutter. It’s just uncomfortable in the summer because water can fill the cornice and dampen the house’s finish. The accumulation of icicles and icing of the cornice during the winter months are caused by a clogged drain. In extreme circumstances, water may even freeze inside the drain pipes, causing them to distort or become disrupted.

Consequently, drains must be cleaned after slopes are cleaned. To prevent dust and debris from getting into your eyes, wear rubber gloves and goggles while working. Use your hands to manually clean the drainage system in three steps:

  1. Large garbage is removed manually or using a scapula, small sour cream with a brush with soft bristles.
  2. Plums are checked with a plumb line – inside them, birds love to twist the nests. There are still hornets and OS nests, so be careful.
  3. All gutters for the roof, starting from the upper point, are washed with a large amount of water. This allows you to remove dried dirt and clean the vertical pipes. In addition, flushing will show whether there is a blockage in the drainage system.

If the drain is extremely filthy or clogged, it is cleaned in a sink under pressure using a detergent. Remember to replace all of the protective nets after cleaning.

If you want to safeguard your investment and make sure your house stays cozy and safe during the winter, you must prepare your roof for winter. You can avoid expensive repairs and preserve energy efficiency by being proactive before winter arrives and doing things like checking for damage, cleaning gutters, and making sure there is enough insulation. Not only does this action plan protect your roof from inclement weather, but it also extends the life of your house, giving you peace of mind come wintertime.

Inspection, rating and repair of the roof

After cleaning and drying, the roof is inspected for any damage. The state of the roofing, adjacent structures, gutters, rafter systems, thermal insulation, and ventilation must all be assessed. Depending on how serious the flaws are, either small fixes are done by hand, or a roofer is called in to replace specific roof nodes or coating areas.

Roofing and drainage system

They start by looking at the roof’s surface, which needs to be level and free of any nooks or crannies where water can collect. This is crucial because ice will accumulate there and harm the roofing, leading to leaks. Usually, a long building level is used for this kind of check. However, if the roof was cleaned, any areas where the water doesn’t drain well will be easy to see. If there are any irregularities, it will be necessary to disassemble and move the roof in those areas. Another layer can be fused to the roof of rolled materials.

The roof is next thoroughly inspected for any additional damage:

  1. Chips and scratches on metal coatings. They are degraded and treated with repair enamel.
  2. Corruption of edges and rusted areas on metal sheets. Such sheets need to be replaced.
  3. Incorrectly screwed self -tapping screws: non -closed, screwed at an angle. Uns notable self -tapping screws must be squeezed, twisted at an angle – replaced: unscrew, degrease and paint the places of joints, insert the dowel into the hole in the crate and screw it up with a new self -tapping screw.
  4. Cracks and holes in a slate, ceramic and cement-sand tiles. Damaged material is replaced.
  5. Gaps, swelling, detachment of joints in rolled coating. The site with defects is removed and the patch is paid, then they make another layer over the entire length of the slope.
  6. Violation of the tightness of joints and adjacents in the places of installation of salaries of attic windows and pipe passage through the roof. Any suspicious areas are covered with silicone sealant.

Specific consideration needs to be given to the locations of cornice overhang, yendov, adjacent, and skate. Once the roof has been inspected, examine the drainage system’s fasteners and replace or raise them as needed. The drain’s gutters should be uniform, and places where water stands still are not acceptable. If so, the drain is in line with the mounts’ adjustments.

Rafter system

Since the rafter system bears the full weight of the snow cap, it must be inspected for cracks and insect damage prior to winter. Furthermore, you must inspect the mounts for damage and adjust them if necessary to compensate for backlash.

Damaged rafter system components are either replaced entirely or have repair pads installed. Usually, these repairs require partially disassembling the roof, so avoid doing them at the end of fall. You need at least two or three consecutive dry days to replace the rafter system’s components.

Damaged elements must be strengthened if repairs are already unfeasible due to continuous rain. If the floor is concrete, they are supported by wooden bars, or additional struts are installed. Moreover, overlays or boards of wood with a thickness of 25–30 mm that are affixed to them from below can be used to reinforce these areas.


Insufficient insulation is the primary cause of the roofs’ icing. The lower layer of snow that has fallen from the rooms warms up in the afternoon, tags and starts to drain to the cornices, and at night, it starts to smell into the ice crust. With every such cycle, this crust’s thickness will increase, and particularly big ice growths will show up in the gutters and on the cornice overhang. Not only is the ice itself heavier than snow, but it will also obstruct the typical snow cap.

To prevent the formation of ice or at least lessen its quantity:

  1. Carefully inspect the insulated roof: the holes in vapor barrier are unacceptable, and the insulation should not crumble or be wet. It should also just be – birds like to settle under the roof, and in the process of settlement they can tear part of the insulation to make a nest in its place.
  2. Cooked space under the cold roof should be well ventilated. So that the snow on the roof does not melt, the temperature in the attic should be approximately the same as outside. Therefore, before winter, you need to check the condition of the ventilation windows and, if necessary, clean them.

It is recommended to simply warm the chilly roof, as this will lessen the quantity of ice that forms, as well as the house’s heat loss and subsequent energy bills.

Preparation for winter problems

Snow will still fall on the roof and occasionally thaw to form icicles, but less ice and a thinner layer of snow are produced by cleaning, repairing, and insulating the roof. Although you can’t stop it, you can get ready for it.

Snow holders or snow cutters for the roof

The snow that falls on the roof doesn’t stay fluffy and soft. It becomes compacted over time and becomes a block of hundreds of kilograms of snow that, when thawed, will start to collapse and slide off the slope and onto the ground due to its own weight. These blocks have a huge weight multiplied by speed, which turns them into a real ram that will smash anything in his path, including people, cars, and residential buildings.

Snow holders, which come in the shape of a grate or multiple parallel, thick pipes, keep these kinds of blocks from building up. Snow layers that started to slide down the hill, landed on snow retainers, started to crumble, melted, and eventually turned entirely into water.

Snow cutters exist in addition to snow-holding structures. These are tiny metal corners that are arranged in a checkerboard pattern along the roof’s slope. After colliding with them, the layer of snow splits into multiple pieces, and if the snowfall is not too heavy, it can safely drop from the roof. Although they work well, snowflowers are not suited for homes with soft roofs or those located in regions with a lot of snowfall.

Dense snow layers can be managed with the aid of snow holders, but a small amount of snow should be present. As a result, cleaning the roof will occasionally still be necessary.

The fight against icicles

Although they may have a festive and attractive appearance, icicles on a roof can be extremely dangerous. Only if people firmly refuse to go under the ramp during the winter can you afford to pay attention to them. You have to battle icicles in all other situations:

  1. Mechanically. The icicles can simply be knocked down regularly with a long stick, hitting 100 mm below their upper edge so as not to damage the roofing. But this is a very laborious way. In addition, you need to be very careful so that the downed icicle does not hit your head.
  2. Chemically. Cades and pedimental overhangs can be treated with a special hydrophobic composition, which will contribute to the rapid outflow of melted snow and water. But there is no water – no and icicles. This is an effective method, but with a protracted winter one processing may not be enough.
  3. Heat. In this case, the warming cable is laid along the edges of the overhang with zigzags to a depth of 300-500 mm. After turning on, all the snow on the slopes quickly melts and flows along the drainage system, and the icicles fall. Anti -icing system based on a heating cable is very effective, but it is expensive and a lot of electricity needs it: roof heating will consume hundreds of kilowatts even with a small length of overhangs.

Remember to enclose an area beneath the overhang so that people are prevented from going there if you knock icicles. Furthermore, big blocks of ice can only be shot from the tower or the roof; they cannot be shot down from below.

What to do with the icing of the roof

Even when thermal insulation is installed correctly, ice on the roof still happens frequently. All that happens is that the snow near the roofing gets heated by the sun. This is particularly valid for the central and southern regions. While the extent of this icing is not as great as that of inadequate insulation, it is still best to remove it.

Since overhangs always have the thickest layer of ice, heating cables also aid in preventing roof icing. Heating the roof, however, only has a limited impact along the edges, so it does not address the entire issue. You will therefore need to manually clean your roof if ice does appear. During thaws, ice is shoveled down with a plastic shovel; in warm weather, it softens and slides off without any issues. You must not touch the ice during a frost because doing so could damage the roof.

It is occasionally advised to sprinkle salt or other chemical compositions that hasten the melting of ice. Don’t take that action! Although a composition like this will aid in removing ice, the roofing will probably sustain damage. even when discussing materials like ceramic tiles that are incredibly sturdy and stable.

Maintaining the longevity and structural integrity of your home depends on getting your roof ready for winter. You can avoid possible damage and expensive repairs by being proactive before the cold weather arrives.

Start by looking for any indications of wear and tear on your roof. Keep an eye out for leaks, cracks, and missing or damaged shingles. If these problems are dealt with in advance, they can be kept from getting worse during the hard winter months.

For appropriate drainage, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean. Water backup caused by clogged gutters can harm your siding and roof. Clear your property of any leaves, branches, and other debris to make room for rain and snowmelt to exit your house.

Cut back any overhanging branches that might fall onto your roof during a storm or from the weight of ice and snow. By taking this easy precaution, major damage can be avoided and the likelihood of future expensive repairs increased.

If you want to stop ice dams from forming in your attic, think about adding insulation. When heat escapes from the house, snow on the roof melts and then refreezes at the eaves, causing ice dams. Maintaining constant temperatures on your roof can be facilitated by adequate ventilation and insulation.

Finally, if you’re unsure about any possible problems, arrange for a professional roof inspection. A skilled roofer can spot hidden issues and suggest maintenance or repair projects to get your roof ready for the winter.

You can keep your home safe, dry, and secure throughout the winter months by adhering to this action plan, which will guarantee that your roof is prepared to face the challenges of winter weather.

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Alexandra Fedorova

Journalist, author of articles on construction and repair. I will help you understand the complex issues related to the choice and installation of the roof.

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