How to Prepare Your Roof for Winter

Winter storm snow on roof

Do you remember the winter of 2013-14?

It was the second snowiest winter on record in Michigan. In Muskegon, the total snowfall was 131 inches – 40 inches above normal. Lansing was 18 inches above normal at 68 inches. Detroit had a record 91 inches – the second snowiest and 50 inches above normal, and Flint was at 82 inches, its 3rd snowiest winter and 36 inches above normal.

The snow began coming early in the year and kept on coming. It was also the winter of frigid temperatures, caused by a southward shift of the North Polar Vortex that stuck around until March in many areas of the country. Businesses, schools, and roads were closed, and many flights were canceled.

If you were home with a roof that wasn’t working properly, you most likely remember or regret it.

Harsh Winters and Your Roof

A harsh winter is probably the worst possible time to discover you have a problem with your roof. As the winter of 2015-16 would show, Michigan winters are anything but predictable. We may have had a warmer, drier winter last year, but you never know when another bad one is coming.

In addition, if you’re in the middle of a winter storm trying to patch up problems when you really need big help, you’re in for a headache.

As cooler weather begins to set in, you may be reminded to start preparing for winter storms. Don’t ignore that feeling! When the snow starts to fall, it may be too late for a permanent fix.

Your roof is your primary defense against damage to your home and therefore your single most important investment. If you don’t care for it regularly, it could have disastrous results. If you have cracks, leaks, poor insulation, heavy snowfall, debris, and ice dams, you could be in for a very long, cold winter.

Top Tips on How to Prepare Your Roof for Winter

  • Take a look at your ceilings.
    Dark patches or discoloration are a good indication that your roof has cracks or leaks. Snow buildup and ice dams only make this problem more intense. Contact a roofing professional to investigate and fix the situation now.
  • Replace worn or missing shingles.
    Shingles are your roof’s barrier between you and the cold, rain, tree branches, debris and melting snow.
  • Clean your gutters.
    Cleaning your gutters is the single best way to prevent ice dams which can cause leaking and deteriorating of your roof and home structure if left uncleaned. Cleaning your gutters is a piece of maintenance that needs to be done throughout the season to make sure your roof weathers the winter. Don’t let yourself make excuses. Call a roofing company to come and take care of it. Trust me. You’ll be saving money in the long run.
  • Replace it now.
    It might be time to invest in a waterproof shingle underlay for your roof. If you are having your roof replaced, ask your contractor about this option. It could come in especially handy for seasons with a lot of snowfall where snow is very likely to sit on your roof.


Above all, if you are unsure or unable to care for your roof regularly, keep in mind the damage that can happen to your home if you don’t and call a professional. Be ready for any weather that might arise this winter.

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