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3 Common Winter Roofing Problems

Winter in the Pacific Northwest are typically long, cold, and in sometimes brutal. Powerful weather systems from Alaska and Canada sweep down into our area and wreak havoc. The roofs that cover our homes tend to bear the brunt of the incoming cold front, causing potential winter roofing issues.

In this blog post, we’re going to look at three common winter roofing problems that if left unchecked and unfixed, can turn into not only a safety hazard, but potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars in damage and repairs.

3 Common Winter Roofing Problems


Ice Dams

Ice dams are relatively common in the Pacific Northwest. Our nightly winter temperatures can dip well below freezing, which causes a wall of ice to form on a roof. This wall of ice is called an ice dam.

If the snow on the roof starts to melt, or a rain event occurs, water can back up behind the ice dam. Standing water on a roof has the uncanny ability to find the smallest crack or hole in a roof and cause it to widen 10x bigger.

The last place any homeowner wants to be is outside in the freezing cold weather, but a little bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way.  Cleaning the roof with a simple step ladder and broom can prevent ice dams from forming.

You should take safety precautions if you plan on heading up to your roof in the middle of winter. Wearing the right clothing and shoes can prevent an unexpected slip and fall from occurring.

You can also make sure your attic has ample ventilation, which will cause roof temps to stabilize, even on the coldest winter days. A roofing company can add ducts which will cause the ventilation of the attic to increase. If it’s an emergency, the attic door can always be left open during the day and night times so that the temperature will be stable with the rest of the house.



Where there are ice dams, there’s usually icicles.  Both ice dams and icicles form in the same weather conditions. Clogged and dirty gutters are the main culprit that can cause massive icicles to form. As time goes by, the icicle will grow in size and weight – to the point that it will be so heavy that it can start causing roof and gutter damage.

Icicles can weigh upwards of three pounds, and when then come crashing to the ground, they will take out anything in their path. The smart way to remove icicles is to get some safety gear (goggles, protective hard hat, and shoes/pants/shirt) and grab a rake or shovel. Gently push the end of the icicle, and it should break free from the roof.



When the warm air from inside your house meets a cold surface, say your roof, condensation will form on interior walls. This is especially problematic for poorly ventilated attics.

The situation can quickly spiral out of control and mold will start to develop in a matter of weeks.  Many people use their attic as a storage area, and they’re not able to find the mold due to clutter and boxes that are in the way.

A quick fix is to ensure that your attic is adequately ventilated by leaving open the bottom door, so the air pressure and temperature in your attic is even with that in your house.

When milder weather starts to return, you can call a roofing company to add vents to your roof so that condensation won’t form and your household temps will be more stable in the colder and hotter months of the year.


Contact Tacoma’s Roofing Experts

At ACME Roofing, we have over 22 years of experience in helping Tacoma homeowners put a safe and sturdy roof over their heads. If you’d like to learn more about how to protect your roof during the upcoming winter months, or you’d like to schedule a roof inspection to prevent winter roofing problems, give us a call at (253) 564-2292 or contact us via our website.