ice dams and gutters

Preventing Ice Dam Damage to Your Roof and Home

That wall of ice that forms at the edge of your roof, typically at the gutters, is called an ice dam.

Some might argue that the frozen icicles of ice dams are quite beautiful. However, while they can be pretty to look at and seem rather harmless, they can cause damage to your home. On warmer days, those ice dams will begin to melt and seep into your house and walls, insulation, ceilings, and other areas in your house. Ice dams add pressure and weight on your roof, leading to structural damage that could lead to flooding. And by lifting roof shingles, ice dams can allow water to leak inside your house.

Ice dams form when melted snow refreezes at roof edges. Ice dams develop as snow on the upper part of the roof melts. Water runs down the roof slope and refreezes into a band of ice at the roof’s edge creating a “dam.” Ice dams form when 3 elements are present:

  1. 1 or 2 inches of snow accumulated on a roof
  2. Lower surfaces are below 32°F
  3. Higher portion of the roof’s external surface are above 32°F

Because ice dams will cause damage to your roof and potentially the inside of your home, you will want to prevent them. There are really only two ways to prevent ice dams:

  1. Maintain your entire roof surface at ambient outdoor temperatures or the temperature of the surrounding environment
  2. Build a roof that is made of a material that won’t allow leaks to seep indoors

Maintaining your entire roof temperature means having to keep your attic and roof cold. To do that, you should:

  • Close up attic bypasses. Have a professional climb into your attic and pull back insulation. Have them plug the leaks using foam, caulk and other insulating methods. Make sure they check the depth of your attic insulation while they’re up there.
  • Create an air barrier between the house and attic with a foil-faced cover over an uninsulated attic hatch or whole-house fan opening.
  • Check for any heat sources such as heating ducts, uninsulated ceiling can lights, water-heating equipment, uninsulated folding attic stair openings, bathroom vent fans, or the furnace.

If you’re building a new roof or replacing one, design one with plenty of ceiling insulation which serves a continuous air barrier to separate the living space from the underside of the roof. The air barrier will stop the flow of heat from the house to the roof surface, keeping the roof the right temperature.

If you’re considering getting your roof replaced, 1-800 HANSONS has you covered. We know all about the importance of attic ventilation and how it ’s a valuable strategy for removing excess moisture from attics, preventing the condensation that can create attic mold and ice dam formations.

Don’t waste your hard-earned money on a temporary fix! With our Smart Choice and Premium roofing, you are not only getting the highest quality roof your money can buy, but you are getting a full lifetime warranty that covers materials, parts, AND labor!

Call 1-800-HANSONS today to begin your hassle-free process to a new, durable roof that will help you prevent ice dams.