Winter Roof Leaks: Top Causes and How to Fix

January 31st, 2023 BY First American Roofing

When you think of winter, it’s likely that you think of ice and snow rather than melted, dripping water.

Unfortunately, for many homeowners, drips and puddles are the reality of the winter season. Despite the cold, you may be finding that your roof has sprung more than one leak over the winter months. You probably have lots of questions, including:

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve gathered all the information that you need in order to protect your roof from winter roof leaks all season long!

Is Winter the Worst Season for Roof Leaks? ❄️

If you had to guess, what season would you think comes with a higher percentage of roof leaks?

If you said spring, we understand why you would think that. After all, spring is known for its wet, rainy days. It seems only natural that it would lead to a wet, leaky roof as well.

The truth is that your roof is at a much higher risk of developing a leak during the winter months. There are a variety of reasons why this happens, but the biggest culprit? Temperature differences.

As the weather outside starts to get colder, homeowners switch on their heating systems to keep their homes warm. This creates a distinct difference in temperatures between your home and the outside air. While it may not matter to a well-insulated home, older homes that are poorly insulated often find that heat escapes from the roof, melting snow and leading to roof leaks.

4 Winter Roof Leak Causes 💧

So, now you know that the difference in temperatures between your home and the outside air can create roof leaks. But how exactly do they happen?

Here are four of the most common causes of winter roof leaks.

1) Ice Dams

winter roof leak ice dam buildup


They are a staple of winter weather and can make the front of your home look magical. Unfortunately, these beautiful ice formations are often indicative of a larger problem with your roof. That’s right. We’re talking about ice dams.

Ice dams are a problem many homeowners have to deal with at one point or another. An ice dam forms when your roof doesn’t have enough insulation. This allows warm air from inside your house to escape through your roof. The warm air melts the snow, and the water starts to trickle down the roof toward your gutters.

This is where the trouble starts. As the water moves towards the colder edges of the roof, it begins to refreeze. This leaves a sheet of ice at the edge of your roof. Melted snow gets trapped behind the ice, creating a pool of water that can cause serious damage to your roof. The longer the water sits, the better chance it has to seep beneath the layers of your roof and into your home.

2) Poor Insulation

Poor insulation is the main cause behind a lot of winter roof leaks. But it doesn’t always manifest as an ice dam!

Inadequate insulation could also lead to condensation forming in your attic. At first glance, it may look like your roof is leaking, but it is simply the water collecting there.

3) Clogged Gutters

While not cleaning out your gutters may not seem like that big of a deal, it can have huge negative consequences for the overall health of your roof system. When your gutters are clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris, it can be difficult for water to flow through, and it may end up freezing. Ice in your gutters means that water can get trapped on your roof and leave water damage behind. Water damage often leads to roof leaks.

4) Damaged Shingles

While damaged shingles can mean trouble for your roof all year round, the winter can bring even more problems. With the snow melting on your roof, missing or damaged shingles make it easier for the water to enter your home and cause roof leaks.

How to Fix Roof Leaks 🔨

winter roof leak finding a leaky rooftop

Now that you’ve identified how the roof leaks start, it is time to fix the problem! Our biggest piece of advice is to repair your leaky roof as soon as you’ve identified it. Leaving a leak untouched can lead to structural damage to your house. If enough time damage builds up, you could be looking at a full roof replacement.

Here are the steps your should take to make sure you get a roof repair that lasts.

Talk to a Roofing Contractor Today! ☎️

Don’t wait to take care of your home’s roof! At First American Roofing and Siding, we can help you find the source of your roof leak and provide you with high-quality solutions. When you work with us, you can rest easy knowing that your winter roof will be ready to take on the weather. Contact us today for a free estimate!