If you’ve been living in a cold climate, you’ve had to deal with ice dams at some point. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the roof’s edge and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. Ice damming can lead to water damage inside your home, so it’s important to prevent and remove ice dams when necessary. In this blog post, we’ll explain what ice dams are, how to avoid them, and how to remove them if they form. This information will help keep your home safe and dry during the winter!
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof, usually near the gutter, during cold winter months. It is created when snow on the roof melts due to heat radiating from inside the house and then re-freezes at the roof’s edge. As temperatures drop again and snow accumulates, these dams trap rain and melting snow under them, forcing it behind the gutter and onto the roof. Ice damming can cause damage to shingles, eaves, interior walls, and ceilings, leading to rot and water damage within your home.
How to prevent ice dams
While it’s impossible to completely prevent them from forming in all cases, here are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of ice dams happening:
- Install Heat Cables – Heat cables will thaw sections of your roof and prevent water from collecting and freezing again at the edge of your roof.
- Ventilate Your Attic – By ensuring proper ventilation in your attic space, you can help regulate temperatures and decrease the heat that radiates off your home’s interior up into the attic area.
- Apply Roof Sealant – Roof sealants form a protective layer between your shingles and melted snow/rainwater that can pool up around ice dams before refreezing again.
- Insulate Your Home – Proper insulation helps keep warmth from escaping through your home’s exterior walls and through the attic floor into the attic space, which helps regulate temperatures on your roof throughout winter months.
- Remove Snow Regularly – Removing snow regularly from rooftops can reduce the amount of trapped moisture along the edges of roofs where ice dams tend to form more easily.
How to remove ice dams
Removing ice dams from your roof can be tricky, and it’s important to keep safety in mind when attempting this task. Here is a step-by-step guide for how to remove ice dams from your roof:
- Inspect the Ice Dams – Being careful not to cause further damage, use a ladder to inspect the dangerous ice dams on your roof. If you cannot reach these areas safely, don’t continue with this process; contact a professional instead.
- Apply Heat – Using an electric heat cable or heated blankets as appropriate, begin thawing out the ridge of ice along your roof’s edge. Be sure not to overheat any roof area, as this could cause additional damage.
- Remove Damaged Sections – Once frozen sections have melted, gently remove any large chunks of damaged shingles or snow with a shovel or rake before continuing with the removal process. Be careful not to cause further damage while doing so, if possible.
- Use Salt To Dissolve Ice and Snow – Carefully spread a layer of rock salt around the perimeter of your home where ice dams are forming and continue spreading it up onto the edge of your roof that is covered in snow/ice/slush until all frozen areas have been properly treated with salt.
- Clean Up Excess – Gently sweep away any remaining slush or chunks left on the ground and gutter system after thawing out has been completed successfully.
When to call a professional
If the ice dams on your roof are too high or difficult to reach safely, it is recommended that you hire a professional to remove them. It’s best to enlist trained experts with the tools and skills necessary to remove the ice dams from your roof safely.
Signature Exteriors Can Help
If you’re not comfortable with handling the removal of ice dams on your own, or if you need assistance with this process, feel free to reach out to Signature Exteriors. Our team of specialists is trained in the safe and effective removal of roof snow and ice buildup, ensuring that your home is protected from any further damage caused by ice dams. With their help, you can rest assured knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to keep your roof healthy and free of potential hazards.