Three Ways to Prepare Your Roof for Another Harsh Winter

ARMA provides property owners tips on how they can save money and protect their roof 

Washington D.C. No one wants to think about snow, freezing rain or plummeting temperatures before it’s absolutely necessary. But the truth is, preparing for winter now and protecting your roof can save money and prevent numerous headaches when the cold weather hits. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is providing the public with expert tips on preparing both commercial and residential roofing systems for the winter.

Problems like ice damming, snow accumulation and icicles can be dangerous and expensive for owners of both flat and steep roofs. Ice dams, which can be the most damaging to a roof, form due to the constant freezing and thawing of melting snow.  Slush can also back up into gutters. This causes water to be forced under the roof, causing the deck to swell, resulting in waviness and buckling of the deck and shingles, as well as damage to a building’s ceilings, walls, insulation or other structural components. Fortunately, there are steps property owners can take now to help prevent this kind of damage.

·         Make sure your attic is well ventilated. For residential asphalt roofing systems, this can be the best defense against winter weather. If ventilation is poor, water vapor generated from bathing, cooking and cleaning can reach the cold underside of a roof deck and condense. If not addressed, this moisture build-up can damage the deck, insulation and drywall. Proper ventilation, which differs based on geographic climate, keeps the attic temperature closer to the outside temperature to prevent snow on the roof from melting and refreezing at the eaves. Consult your local building code authority to find your specific ventilation requirements.

·         Keep your attic well-insulated. Attic insulation at the ceiling level helps to keep warm air from escaping from the home into an attic, where it can reach the underside of a roof deck to cause ice damming. Proper insulation keeps the attic cold and the rest of the house warm. It can even lower your heating bill. Attic ventilation and insulation can be implemented in homes without replacing the roof.

·         Inspect and maintain a commercial roof. ARMA recommends that low-slope asphalt roofs be inspected twice a year, once during the spring and again in the fall, to identify potential problems and make key repairs. By inspecting your roof now, you can address any issues before the snow arrives and remains on a roof for months on end. Proper maintenance can prevent the development of conditions with the potential for causing damage.

“If current weather predictions hold true, we’re looking at another extremely freezing, snowy winter,” said Reed Hitchcock, executive vice president of ARMA. “That is a recipe for ice damming and other costly problems that can damage both low and steep-sloped roofs. Taking action now will protect your roof, your belongings and your family.”

For more information on protecting, maintaining and repairing asphalt roofing systems, visit


About ARMA

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is the North American trade association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of bituminous-based residential and commercial fiberglass roofing products, roll roofing, built-up (BUR) roofing systems and modified bitumen roofing systems. For more information, please visit