Early Snows Surprise Many: How Metal Roofs Perform in Winter

The early winter storms experienced by much of the Northeast this past weekend remind us all, that like it or not…Mother Nature is in charge!  As of November 21, 2016 , Leader, Minnesota has 24 inches, Buffalo, New York 20-25 inches and Boston is reporting 15-20 inches of snow.  And it’s still snowing in many areas. 

Snow on a metal roof

This winter surprise is a good reminder to all homeowners to make sure their roof is ready for winter’s harsh weather.  Energy-efficient metal roofing is a great choice for snowy areas, as they easily shed snow loads.

Most metal roofs have a fairly smooth top surface.  When the sun shines, heat from the sun passes through the snow, hits the metal, and is reflected back outside.  The sun heats up the metal roof allowing the snow to melt over the entire roof surface.  The snow and ice will melt from the bottom creating the opportunity for the snow and ice to shed more quickly than other roofing materials.

Although lightly packed powder snow weighs very little per square cubic foot, slushy, wet snow can weigh over 62 pounds per square foot.  It is this heavy wet snow that causes so many problems.  The presence of snow and ice on a roof exerts vertical loads that can cause a roof to sag or bow downward.


Some homeowners choose to rake the snow and ice off their roofs.  While it may solve the problem in the short term, chances are good that this will cause significant damage to a roof.  “If you rake an asphalt shingle roof, chances are you’ll take some shingles off along with the snow and ice,” states Dick Bus, president of the Metal Roofing Alliance.   “One easy way to avoid heavy snow loads and ice dams is to consider installing a metal roof.”

In addition to heavy snow loads, homeowners need to keep an eye out for ice dams.   Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That’s because the same conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house.

Icicles On Roof

A homeowner who doesn’t have a properly insulated attic could be faced with an ice dam upstairs. Heat from the attic melts snow on the roof, and the melted water pools and gets in the house.

If you’re looking to replace your roof, consider installing a metal roof.  Find a quality metal roofing contractor here on our website.