Avoid Ice Dam-age

DaVinci avoid ice dam age
December 15, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By DaVinci Roofscapes.

Learn more about where ice dams come from and how to get rid of them when winter comes around.

Sure they’re pretty. They can turn any home into a fairyland castle. But that’s where the attractiveness of ice dams stop. Those sharp icicles weighing down your gutters will soon have you saying “dam those ice dams!”

Where are the ice dams coming from?

How are ice dams formed? After a snowfall, as heat rises from your home interior, it can melt the snow and ice on your roof. This causes water runoff down your roof. That same water can refreeze when it hits the cold edge of the roofline.

The first problem is that, as that buildup of ice occurs, it creates a dam at the edge line that prevents the water from draining into the gutters and away from your home. This can weigh down on the roof and gutters, damaging both. The second problem is the ice dam can cause a backup of water onto the roof, causing roof leaks.

How do I get rid of the ice dams?

First of all, resist the temptation to knock the icicles off with a shovel or pour hot water on them. And, forget about using a hammer or chainsaw. You need to protect your gutters, roof and siding.

If you’ve got a lot of snow on the roof in addition to the ice dam, consider starting with a roof rake. This is a rake with wheels, specifically built for this purpose, so it won’t harm the roof.

Standing on the ground, pull the snow off the roof toward you. Be aware of the falling icicles and snow as you work toward removing the ice dam.

This Old House magazine offers a variety of ideas in their story, “How to Get Rid of Ice Dams.” A common method includes placing old pantyhose or tube socks (filled with a chemical ice-melt) directly on the ice dam.

There’s also another way remove ice dams. It involves using heated cables. You may wish to hire a professional to do this task, since it involves strategic placements on the ice-covered roof. Roofing professionals are always a good choice if the ice dams are difficult to reach or you suspect roof leakage or damage.

Most importantly, be proactive. Try to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. DaVinci Roofscapes offers Tips for Ice Dam Prevention on their website that you may wish to check out.

Extra roofing tips

If you’ll soon be in the market for a new roof, no matter what the season, think ahead to the winter months. Ask your roofer to use a premium self-adhered membrane below your roofing. The choices you make now will impact the life of your roof for decades to come — especially if you’re selecting a composite slate or shake roof.

The “protective layer” of a premium self-adhered membrane helps prevent the build-up of potentially damaging ice dams on your roof and overhang areas. This is a necessary investment, and an instant, worry-free solution for ice dams in your future.

Finally, there are “6 DIY Tips to Winter-Ready Your House” on the DaVinci website. Make sure to read this story. You’ll discover that ventilating your attic will also help reduce the buildup of heat, which can also keep those ice dams from forming on your roof!

Learn more about DaVinci Roofscapes.

Have a question? AskARoofer. 

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory.  

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