image of home in winter

Written by Peter Sawyer


Ahh, winter. Temperatures drop, days shorten and the weather turns icy. Sure there’s ice-skating, sledding, snowball fights and all those fun seasonal activities to enjoy, but winter can be brutal—especially if you’re a homeowner. Shoveling snow and salting walkways are to be expected, but if you really want to be prepared (and worry less), there are some precautions to take. Winterizing your roof is just one key to surviving the wrath of Jack Frost.

image of clearing gutters

Clean your gutters

You know those piles of leaves up in your gutters? Now is the time to remove them before the snow starts to really fall. Sure, it’s always good to clear your gutters, but it’s especially smart to do so before any blizzards come your way. If you don’t, snow can pile up on top of those leaves and rest on your roof’s shingles. This can be problematic because once the snow melts all that water can leak right into your home, and who wants that?

Branch removal

Fun fact: a gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. Can you imagine that much weight resting on top of a tree branch? How about double that? Tree branches may seem sturdy, but when heaps of snow lay on top of them for long stretches, they often break off due to the weight of snow and ice. If your roof is under some tree branches, it’s a good idea to get them trimmed ASAP so you don’t have to worry about any tree limbs crashing down on your roof when you finally get some snow.

image of home in winter

Snow guard

If you want to go above and beyond with winter preparation, installing some snow guards to your roof is a wise idea. They come in different sizes and styles, but the general idea is that they hold snow in place, so it melts and runs off as water and not large heavy masses. Without snow guards, snow and icepacks can come crashing down below, and that can be dangerous if someone happens to be in harm’s way.

winter roof checklist

Add insulation

We all can’t be Wim Hof, so it’s only natural that most of us find winter on the frigid side of things. It’s one thing to bundle up and deal with the cold when we’re outside, but coming home to a cold house is not going to make it easy to survive the long months ahead. To ensure your place is warm enough for a comfortable winter, make sure to add insulation to your attic. This may be a bit of a project, but it’ll save you on the heating bill and will also prevent ice dams on your roof.

While winter can be tough for some people, it doesn’t have to be tough on your roof. A quick inspection will tell you if there are any additional things to fix before things really get cold, but ultimately, you should make these precautions a priority. After all, then you can enjoy that cup of cocoa by that blazing fire with a sound peace of mind.


Peter Sawyer, Modernize contributorPeter Sawyer is a screenwriter and cinephile who enjoys DIY home and living hacks. Writing for Modernize gives him a platform to write about energy-efficient living in the home. He just wrote and produced a featurette about Halloween.

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