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How to Eliminate Ice Dams to Prevent Roof Damage

How to Eliminate and Prevent Ice Dams to Prevent Roof Damage

You probably imagine fluffy snow in the yard, smoke coming from the chimney, and lovely icicles cascading over the roof’s edge when you think of an ideal winter wonderland. While the Icicles along the rooftop may appear to be a wonderful image, they may actually be an indication that catastrophe is about to happen. This accumulation of frozen water in the gutter system and at the roof’s edge are defined as Ice Dams. Ice dams can seriously harm a home as it prevents the subsequent drainage of the melting snow water on the home’s roof, leading to leaks and water damage. Continue reading to learn how to stop ice dams before they cause costly roof repairs.

What Is A Rooftop Ice Dam? Where do they occur?

An ice dam is a substantial ice formation that has amassed over time along a roof’s eaves. This is brought on by the wintertime cycle of melting and freezing water. The places with the greatest snowfall during the colder months are those where ice dams on roofs are most noticeable. If you are a homeowner that lives in a region with colder climates it is recommended that you constantly inspect your roof and gutters to ensure that ice dams do not form.

Why do Ice Dams Form?

After a lot of snow falls on the roof, ice dams begin to develop. The melting of the snow and the subsequent flow of meltwater down the roof occurs when the roof warms up due to heat in the attic. Once it reaches the edge of the roof, this will freeze and accumulate as a pile of ice. This process will continue to result in bigger ice dams, shingle cracks, roof leaks, and can even cause your gutters to expand or crack too. If your gutters were to crack, then it will it would prevent the proper drainage of excess roof water and might entail a new gutter replacement.


Why Ice Dams Develop On Roofs

  1. Certain areas of the roof are warmed by the attic’s heat, while others remain chilly. Since heat naturally rises, the attic might warm up in the winter. That warmth will escape if your roof isn’t properly sealed or if the roof is poorly insulated, leading to an unbalanced temperature on your roof.
  2. Snow melts off the heated roof peak and refreezes. The issue arises as a result of the heat in your roof not being dispersed evenly. As the snow melts at the peak of your roof it then melts down toward the roof edges which are usually cooler than the rest of the roof. Once the water reaches the edges of your roof, it will freeze and build up into an ice dam.
  3. Overflowing meltwater will assemble over the ice dam. As the water supply melts, the ice dam will keep expanding until the water no longer freezes and begins to build up.
  4. Ice dams and water leaks harm roofs. If there are any shingle cracks, the backed-up snow water will ultimately reach them and leak through the roof. This is how ice dams result in roof leaks and additional home damage.

Can Ice Dams Hurt a Roof?

Yes, ice dams can damage your home’s roof and cause other roof problems in a variety of ways. If your home has ice dams, the homeowners will notice the following forms of damage quickly:

  • Leaking roof
  • Shingle loss 
  • Shingle cracking
  • Gutter rips or damages

The following are possible indications that you have previously experienced some roof damage or melted snow water backup:

  • Sagging or stained ceilings
  • Warped roof floorboards
  • Peeling exterior paint
  • Wet insulation


Additionally, a hidden warning sign that homeowners may start to notice is an increase in their heating cost. As your home accumulates more roof damage overtime, you’ll start paying more to keep the same amount of heat in your home due to inadequate insulation or leaks. Another hidden warning sign is unwelcome bugs that might end up in your house. Pests, insects, and other animals may enter via tiny crevices, even something as little as a minor roof leak. Many of them are searching for a damp, gloomy area to live in. These pests will seek out and thrive in an environment with standing water caused by an ice dam.

How to Remove Ice Dams from a Roof

There are a few steps you can take to remove ice dams on the roof if you see them beginning to form before they cause severe damage. It’s crucial to address this problem as soon as possible to prevent further harm.

Quick Solutions for Roof Ice Dam Removal

These are excellent options if you currently have an ice dam on your roof and want to remove it before serious harm occurs. When completing any of these chores, we advise homeowners to exercise caution and give thought to their safety in order to prevent further roof damage or accidents. In addition, our roofing specialists want to emphasize that while these suggestions and tricks will temporarily address the immediate issue at hand, if you’re seeking longer-term solution that prevents further damage, continue reading the section below.

  • To safely remove extra snow or ice, use a rake. This will allow any water that may have accumulated beneath the roof to escape and alter the outside temperature of the roof. It is crucial to remember to not use shovels or any other sharp objects to try and remove ice dams. This would be a risky task that could remove your roof shingles or roofing material and worsen the roof’s condition.
  • Make a route for the extra water to flow down. You can make a path between the ice constructions so that the extra water can leak through to the gutters using ice melt. Before making a path It is crucial to ensure that the gutters are cleaned and can effectively drain the meltwater. 
  • Existing leaks should be frozen or patched to stop future harm. Try to prevent the water from entering your home and causing more issues, try reducing the temperature in your roof for a while and directing a fan at the source of a current leak. This will give you the opportunity to freeze the leak while using one of the other techniques to drain the extra water and then patch the leak.

Proactive steps to avoid ice dams on roofs

If you’re concerned that ice dams may result in roof leaks and other damage, start making preparations now so you won’t experience negative effects this winter! The key to preventing ice dams on the roof is maintaining a cool surface temperature, that is constant to the melting snow. We have a couple of roof maintenance methods that will help to you get your roof ready for winter and prevent or eliminate ice dams permanently.

  1. Reinforced attic insulation. Routinely examine your roof insulation and determine when your insulation needs to be changed or when you should add to the present quantity. Homes should have about 12–14 inches of fiberglass or cellulose insulation, according to the majority of construction regulations.
  2. Up your roof’s ventilation. Additional ventilation will provide an extra layer of defense, allowing cold air to enter and warm attic air to escape. Your roof will stay consistently cool by adding soffit vents and ventilation strips to the eaves.
  3. Attic heat sources should be removed. Try to limit the amount of heat and traffic up in the attic during the winter. In order to try to keep the area cool, avoid spending money to heat the space with your furnace system, this involves shutting off lights or other heat sources, and if appropriate, keeping doors closed.

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