Winter Is Upon Us. Is Your Roof Ready? A Winter Readiness Discussion For Northeastern States!

By Millstream Construction

Image of a house in winter with dark blue filtered light. "Winter Is Upon Us. Is Your Roof Ready? A Winter Readiness Discussion For Northeastern States!"

Winter can be hard on roofs. Especially in the northeast, where winter means lots of snow and sub-freezing temperatures, it’s common for roofs to fail or develop leaks. You can reduce your roof failure risk by looking for subtle problems and addressing them quickly.


Of course, roofs are high, steep, and challenging to stand on. You might be a little scared to climb up there, and that’s understandable. Leave that part to the professionals. You can do a reasonably good job of assessing your roof condition from the ground. Look out for these signs, which mean you should call a roofing company.

Shingle Pieces in the Landscaping

When you’re outside shoveling snow or bringing in the mail, glance over at your garden beds and landscaping. Do you see any bits of shingles, or even whole shingles, lying about? If the shingles look like they are from your roof, contact a roofer. A few missing shingles are pretty easy to replace, but you want to have this work done before snow damages the roof deck or underlayment.

If you think the shingles came from a neighbor’s roof, knock on their door and tell them. Most people appreciate a “heads up” that their roof needs repairs.

Missing or Lifted Shingles

If you back up from the side of your home or stand across the street, you can often see a significant portion of the roof. If you have binoculars, this is the time to use them! Do you see any missing shingles? Or are any shingles along the roof’s edge lifting around their edges? This lifting is a common type of roof damage in snowy areas. Ice dams form on the edge of the roof, prying the shingles off the roof deck.

A roofer can tack down or replace any lifted or missing shingles. They may also add some extra insulation or ventilation to your roof to prevent future ice dams from forming.

Damaged Gutters

Gutters are essential for roof protection in the winter. If snow or ice melt, the water will flow into the gutters and away from your roof. But if your gutters are disconnected, clogged, or pitched at the wrong angle, water will not flow out of them properly. Contact a roofer if you notice any of these gutter problems:

Water flowing over the edges of horizontal gutters
Downspouts that have come disconnected from the gutter system
Holes in the gutters
Water seeping through the seams between two gutters

Tree Branches Hitting or Scraping the Roof

If you have trees that overhang your roof, keep a close eye on them in the winter. When branches get weighed down with ice and snow, they may drop and start scraping against the roof. They can even break and fall on the roof, causing damage.

If you do have a branch fall on or scrape your roof, it is a good idea to call a roofer. They can safely climb up on the rooftop and look for any damage. It’s better to call early than to wait and see whether a leak develops – because then you’ll have water damage to repair, too.

Granules in the Gutters

Granules are those little, pebble-like pieces of asphalt that cover shingles. They make the shingles durable and weather-resistant. However, as shingles age, they often start to lose their granules. The more granules they lose, the less protection they offer for your home.

Looking inside your gutters, you can tell whether your shingles are losing granules. If any of your gutter channels are low enough to access from a step ladder, look inside. (Only do this if you feel safe and comfortable standing on a step ladder. And wait for a day when it’s not snowy and icy.) If you see lots of granules in the gutters, you’ll soon be due for a roof replacement.

Advanced Roof Age

The older your roof is, the more likely it is to leak or develop other problems in the winter months. If you still have the manufacturer’s paperwork from your shingles, check to see how long they are warrantied. If the roof is nearly out of warranty, start planning for a replacement.

Many roofs with older shingles are surprisingly short-lived and last just 10 – 20 years. Thankfully, Millstream Construction installs top-quality shingles with a 50-year manufacturer’s warranty on materials and a 25-year labor warranty.

Roof replacement isn’t cheap. The best way to save on roofing costs is to take good care of the roof you already have. If you notice any of the signs above this winter, don’t hesitate to contact Millstream Construction. We offer free estimates and analysis in Connecticut, Massachusetts & Rhode Island – and we’re happy to climb up on your roof, so you don’t have to.

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