What is an Ice Dam on a Roof – 6 Preventing Measures

What is an Ice Dam on a Roof - 6 Preventing Measures

As the winter season slowly steams in and snow flakes start to fall, ice dams can be an unexpected attacker to your warm cozy home. Winter’s seemingly innocent phenomenon could bring about quite a lot of damage if misread or neglected. But don’t be scared as we are just about to crack down all the raw facts for you.

By the time you’re done reading this piece, not only would you know exactly what an ice dam is but also how it can be prevented from plaguing your rooftops. Let’s together discover this cold topic, arming every homeowner with vital information on how to withstand the cold.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is when an accumulation of ice forms at the edge of a roof specifically in winter. This normally occurs because of the unstable temperature of the roof’s surface, which then causes the snow melting down, moving down and then freezing at the edge of the roof.

What is an Ice Dam

This dam will then block all the melted snow from draining off the roof correctly. In turn, water backs up behind the ice dam and can leak into the interior of your home, causing water damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.

Formation of Ice Dams

The ice dams can form on any home in any place. The process actually starts when the heat inside the house warms up the roof that eventually causes a meltdown of snow that lays on top. This water then runs down the roof to the colder eaves and it refreezes into a dam of ice.

The process continues and this ice dam grows trapping behind it a pool of water. This water can then seep beneath the shingles and get insides the home to cause colossal damage.

The main reasons that lead to the formation of ice dams are heat loss from the house, a layer of snow cover on the roof and outside temperature.

Damage from Ice Dams

Ice dams might result in causing severe damage to your premises. The retained water behind the dam may enter into the house and damaged walls, ceilings as well as insulations. This condition over time may develop molds that are dangerous for the people living in it.

Damage from Ice Dams

Damaging is also caused by ice dam to gutters, shingles and landscape in the exterior. A weight that causes the gutters to pull away from the house or even collapse will be generated and held by an ice dam. In extreme cases, ice dams can lead to structural damage, making them a homeowner’s in problem.

Identifying Ice Dams: Key Signs to Look Out For

Solving into the ice dam early will save you from having to do some costly repairs in future. Icicles hanging down on your gutters may be a picturesque in winter but they may also signal an ice dam in place. Look for big icicles hanging from the edges of your roof or from your gutters. This can be a sign of a dam because icicles form when water is running off your roof and freezing before it can get too far.

Another visible indicator is a stain of water or moisture up in your attic, or along the ceiling of exterior walls in your home. The staining indicates that an ice dam has formed and infiltrated the roof membrane with water. If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to take action immediately to prevent further damage.

Preventing Ice Dams: Proactive Measures for Homeowners

You can prevent from ice dams by following these steps.

  • Proper insulation and air sealing: Insulation in the roof and air sealing can slow the flow of heat from the house to the roof. This will help ensure that the whole roof is colder and more uniformly cold so that snow on the upper roof doesn’t melt and refreeze at the eaves.
  • Ventilation: Proper ventilation accorded to the attic assists in keeping constant temperature in the attic. This is brought about by natural roof ventilation where cold air runs across and below the roof limiting excessive collection of heat within the same.
  • Removing Snow from the Roof: Removal of snow from the roof physically helps one in preventing ice dams. This is through the use of special tools for the same, such as a roof rake. However, the task is to be done in a manner that it is not causing damage to the materials on the roof.
Removing Snow from the Roof
  • Ice-and-Water Barrier and Leak Barriers: Leak barriers ought to be installed always at the eaves to prevent water infiltration from ice dams. This is underlayment that seals themselves when water is passing through it and sticks in decking sealing it off.
  • Heat Cables: In some cases, heat cables running in a zigzag along the roof edge may keep ice dams from forming. The cables warm up and then cut through the snow so that it does not refreeze on the eaves.
  • Professional Roofing Service for Ice Dam Removal: In case an ice dam has already formed, a roofing professional should be the one to call off of our list for its safe and effective removal. Technique used by the professional roofer is steam melting which removes ice dams effectively without damage to the residential roof.

Ice dams can cause lots to damages to a home, hence the need to promptly deal with them. Other than leading to structural damage, they may also pose danger when icicles start falling or where gutters are weighed down by the accumulating ice.

Professional Solutions for Ice Dam Removal

Indeed it may call in necessary that you seek the services of a professional so that they work on the serious ice dam. Experts use special equipment to remove the ice dam safely without causing harm to your roof. This equipment includes those that steam uses to melt the ice dam by firing high-temperature with low pressure or how stream that melts the ice dam at ease without causing damage to your shingles.

If you go for professionals, then ensure also that they are insured and reputable. This is because ice dam removal can be dangerous, and you will not want to be blamed in the event of anything happening at your premises. Lastly remember that removing an ice dam is only a temporary solution, the key to preventing future ice dams is in improving insulation and ventilation in your roof.


In conclusion, every homeowner should take an attempt to break down the enigma surrounding ice dams on roofs.

These slippery threats form in a step by step process and can bring about great damages if left undetected. Recognizing the major signs of ice dams should be also important, while taking the proactive measures can prevent them to form basically.

However in some cases the professional solutions are the only way of the way out. Having acquired this knowledge, confidently brace against this winter phenomenon to ensure the safety and warmth of your home.

ClickAns will answer your each and every question about roofing. Our have a team of experts having years of experience in roofing, repairing and construction works. for more information you can contact us.

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