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Winter Is Coming: Preparing Your Roof for Durango’s Snowy Season

Winter Is Coming: Preparing Your Roof for Durango’s Snowy Season

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Durango, Colorado, with its stunning mountain vistas and charming winters, is a picturesque place to call home. However, with the beauty of winter comes the challenge of heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. Your roof, being the first line of defense against the elements, requires special attention to prepare for Durango’s snowy season. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore essential steps to ensure your roof is ready to withstand the winter onslaught, keeping your home warm, dry, and secure.

1. Inspect Your Roof Before Winter

Timing: Early Fall

Before the first snowflake falls, conduct a thorough inspection of your roof. Look for any signs of damage or wear, such as missing or damaged shingles, compromised flashing, or loose gutters. Addressing these issues early can prevent more extensive damage during the winter months.

2. Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Timing: Late Fall, Before Snowfall

Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to ice dams and water backup, causing damage to your roof and home interior. Clean gutters and downspouts thoroughly, removing leaves, debris, and any blockages. This ensures proper water drainage during melting snow and prevents potential leaks.

3. Trim Overhanging Branches

Timing: Early Fall

Overhanging branches can pose a risk during heavy snowfall and storms. Trim branches that are too close to your roof to prevent them from breaking under the weight of snow and causing damage.

4. Check Attic Insulation and Ventilation

Timing: Early Fall

Proper attic insulation and ventilation are crucial for preventing ice dams. Ensure your attic is adequately insulated to prevent heat from escaping and warming the roof surface. Proper ventilation helps maintain a consistent roof temperature, preventing the melting and refreezing cycle that leads to ice dams.

5. Install Ice and Water Shield

Timing: During Roof Installation or Repairs

Consider installing an ice and water shield, especially in vulnerable areas like roof eaves, valleys, and around chimneys. This waterproof membrane provides an extra layer of protection against ice dams and water infiltration.

6. Upgrade to Snow-Friendly Roofing Materials

Timing: During Roof Replacement

If you’re due for a roof replacement, consider upgrading to roofing materials that are snow-friendly. Metal roofs, for example, allow snow to slide off more easily, reducing the risk of accumulation and potential structural strain.

7. Remove Snow Promptly

Timing: During and After Snowfall

When heavy snow accumulates on your roof, it can add significant weight and stress. Use a roof rake or hire professionals to safely remove excess snow. This prevents structural damage and reduces the risk of ice dams.

8. Insulate and Ventilate Attic Spaces

Timing: Ongoing Maintenance

Proper attic insulation and ventilation are year-round considerations. In addition to preventing ice dams, they contribute to overall energy efficiency by regulating temperatures and reducing heating costs.

9. Seal Attic Leaks

Timing: Ongoing Maintenance

Inspect your attic for any potential leaks or gaps. Seal these areas to prevent warm air from escaping, which can contribute to the formation of ice dams.

10. Consider Snow Guards

Timing: Before Winter

Snow guards are devices installed on your roof to control the release of snow and ice. They can prevent large chunks of snow from sliding off your roof unexpectedly, protecting people, pets, and property below.

11. Inspect and Repair Flashing

Timing: Early Fall

Flashings around chimneys, vents, and skylights are common areas for water infiltration. Ensure that flashings are securely in place and make repairs as needed to prevent leaks.

12. Check for Signs of Leaks Inside Your Home

Timing: Throughout Winter

Regularly inspect your ceilings and walls for any signs of water stains or leaks. Addressing leaks promptly can prevent extensive water damage and mold growth.

13. Install Heated Cables

Timing: Before Winter

Heated cables or heat tape can be installed along roof edges to prevent ice dams. These cables help melt snow and ice, allowing for proper drainage.

14. Schedule Professional Roof Inspections

Timing: Annually or Biannually

Engage professional roofing services for annual or biannual inspections. Roofing experts can identify potential issues and recommend preventive measures to prepare your roof for the winter season.

15. Inspect and Maintain Skylights

Timing: Early Fall

Skylights are vulnerable points for leaks. Inspect the seals and flashing around skylights and make any necessary repairs before winter arrives.

16. Check for Loose or Damaged Shingles

Timing: Early Fall

Loose or damaged shingles can be more susceptible to the weight of snow and ice. Check your roof for any shingle issues and repair or replace them as needed.

17. Protect Against Condensation

Timing: Ongoing Maintenance

Condensation in your attic can lead to moisture-related issues. Ensure proper ventilation and insulation to minimize condensation and protect your roof structure.

18. Invest in a Roof Heating System

Timing: Before Winter

For areas prone to heavy snowfall, consider installing a roof heating system. These systems can melt snow and ice, preventing the formation of ice dams.

19. Secure Loose Eaves and Soffits

Timing: Early Fall

Inspect the eaves and soffits for any loose or damaged sections. Secure or repair these elements to prevent them from becoming dislodged under the weight of snow.

20. Educate Yourself on Snow Load Limits

Timing: Before Winter

Understand the snow load limits for your specific roof design and materials. Be aware of the signs of stress, such as sagging, and take appropriate action if you notice any issues.


Preparing your roof for Durango’s snowy season is a proactive approach to safeguarding your home against the challenges of winter weather. By following these comprehensive steps, you’ll ensure that your roof remains resilient, protecting your home and providing peace of mind as you embrace the beauty of winter in this picturesque Colorado town. A well-prepared roof not only enhances the comfort of your living space but also preserves the longevity of your home’s most vital protective layer.

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