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Preventing & Eliminating Ice Dams to Protect Your Roof

Preventing & Eliminating Ice Dams to Protect Your Roof


Storm Guard of Madison

A substantial ice formation that has accumulated over time along a roof’s overhangs

What is an Ice Dam & Where Do They Occur?

An ice dam is a substantial ice formation that has accumulated over time along a roof’s overhangs. This is brought on by temperature fluctuations resulting in melting and freezing water. The places with the largest snowfalls during the colder months are those where ice dams on roofs are most evident. The Midwest is known for its’ colder climates, and we recommend that you regularly inspect your roof and gutters to ensure that ice dams do not form.

Can Ice Dams Hurt your Roof?

A leaking roof, shingle loss and/or cracking, and gutter damage are all possible roof problems that can occur from ice dams. Although on paper these may seem like smaller issues, they can certainly turn into a costly and time-consuming endeavor to fix. The following indicators are the tell-tale signs of ice dams:

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

Additionally, homeowners may also start noticing an increase in heating costs. As homes accumulate roof damage over time, they will pay more to keep the same amount of heat in their homes due to inadequate insulation or leaks. 

Removing Ice Dams

  • Safely remove extra snow or ice by using a rake. This allows water that may have accumulated underneath the roof to escape and alter the outside temperature of the roof. We recommend not using any sharp tools like shovels as this could create more damage to your roof with too much force. 
  • Make a route for the extra water to flow down by creating a path between the ice formations so that extra water can leak directly to the gutters by using ice melt. Before making a path, ensure the gutters are cleaned and can effectively drain the meltwater. 
  • Prevent water from entering your home and causing more issues by 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.

Preventing Ice Dams

  • Routinely examine your roof insulation and determine when your insulation needs to be changed or altered. Homes should have about 12–14 inches of insulation, according to most construction regulations. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

If you feel you are experiencing ice dams and you would like a professional company to help you along the way, contact Storm Guard of Southern Wisconsin. They are Madison’s trusted roofing and gutter company! Call them at 608-497-3301 for your free consultation today!