Ice Damming: What It Is And Why It’s Damaging To Your Home’s Roof

December 10, 2019 , ,

Think of a house in wintertime. Right now, you’re probably imagining a cozy-looking home with gorgeous icicles hanging from the roof. Just another typical roof, right?

Not so much. Ice damming – which often looks like those romanticized icicles dangling from a roof – are indications of an unhealthy roof. While ice dams can be caused by a number of ways, they’re can damage your home’s roof and interior walls. It’s best to deal with them as quickly as possible. 

Signs Of An Ice Dam Problem

A few indications can be found throughout your home when you have an ice dam problem. We’ll start with the most obvious: 


  • A chunk of ice hanging off your roof. This is a fairly obvious indicator, as you can literally see the ice that has formed. 
  • Water stains on your ceiling. Perhaps somewhat less obvious, water-stained ceilings in the middle of winter trace back to a problem with your home’s roof.
  • Mould forming on drywall. This mould generally forms where the roof meets the ceiling. Mould is never good; in this case, it may be caused by an ice dam. 


How Ice Dams Cause Damage

When snow builds up on a roof – and warm air from your attic reaches it – the snow can begin to melt. As this melted snow runs down the roof, it reaches colder areas and can freeze. As this process continues, you’ll notice a buildup of ice – sometimes in several distinct mounds. 

These mounds themselves aren’t the problem: it’s the continuous process of melting snow running towards the ice dam that damages your roof. As the water runs down, larger pools of water sit on your shingles. This water can seep through your roof and into your attic, ceiling, or interior walls.

As all homeowners know, leaking water in your home can cause a costly amount of damage. Potential damages include stained ceilings, peeling paint and serious damage to drywall, wood, and other internal structures. 

How Do You Prevent Ice Dams? 

In short, we prevent ice dams from forming by keeping your roof cold. Without hot spots to melt the snow, no water will run down your roof and re-freeze into chunks of ice. 

How we keep your roof cold is a more complicated story. By using our industry experience and best practices, we can troubleshoot your roofing system and figure out what part of this system needs to be reworked to prevent ice dams. 

This might include: 

  • Closing attic bypasses
  • Ensuring proper attic insulation levels
  • Adding roof and soffit vents

Our team of roofing professionals may recommend other options to keep your roof healthy and to avoid the dangers associated with ice dams. While these are common recommendations our team takes, they may not be the best fit for your home or business. We also have a number of other strategies to address ice dams when a cold roof isn’t enough. 

Have a specific question about ice damming? Contact our team today and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. 

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