Think summer showers and fall debris are hard on your roof? These seasons have nothing on winter. Between blustery storms, mounting snow, freezing temperatures, and gathering ice, the Canadian cold poses significant risks to a roof’s integrity, threatening the health of the building and the safety of its occupants.

“If you’ve lived through a Canadian winter, then you know how severe things can get,” says Marco Ferrazzo, Process Manager with Artistic Skylight. “That’s why we’re always talking with our employees and clients about what they can do to safeguard their roof for winter before things get ugly.”

Looking to protect the roof of your home or building this winter? Consider these steps:

  • Take a tour: Enlist your building/facility maintenance team or third-party specialists to assess the state of your roof and address any issues that require fixing before the cold and snow set in.
  • Seal up tight: Address all rips, tears, cracks, and other breakages in your roof now before water from snow and ice has a chance to seep in. If water or excess moisture does make it through, this could cause costly damage to your roof and the infrastructure and/or systems it’s protecting.
  • Clear the debris: Ensure gutters are free of fall debris so that snow can drain properly. This will avoid snow from piling up and overflowing, causing damage to the building envelope and potentially falling onto people below.
  • Test your shingles and flashings: During your pre-winter roofing inspection, make sure to take a close look for missing or damaged shingles as well as dents, rust, or other signs of damage among your flashing. Spotting and repairing issues with your shingles and flashings helps prevents further degradation and higher repair bills down the road.
  • Check the attic: Insulation is king during winter. Poke your head into the attic to ensure it is properly insulated and well-ventilated. This will ensure the space below retains heat and that you are mitigating any damages or health risks caused by moisture, ice dams, and other results of water infiltration.
  • Break out the shovels: Snow can pile up fast on a roof, and that extra weight can put undo stress on a roofing system. Make snow removal a regular part of your winter maintenance process.
  • Break the ice: Avoid ice from accumulating on or around the roof. This will make it much safer to walk on top and prevent icicles from building up.

There’s no avoiding a Canadian winter. However, there are preventative steps that homeowners, property managers, and asset owners can take to ensure their roofs see another season.