How do I fix an ice dam on my roof?

ice dam roof

Dealing With Roof Damage and More

We will start this article by answer the most common question when somebody is told they have an ice dam roof issue:  What is an ice dam on the roof? What is an ice dam? An ice dam is created when snow melts and refreezes, results of an unusually warm roof, which results from an attic not having the proper amount of insulation. 

With a poorly insulated attic, the warmth from the house transfers through the attic and onto the roof, then snow melts. The droplets from that melting snow runs down the roof and when they get to the roof edge, they refreeze on the eaves because there isn’t warm air there. As more snow melts and runs down and refreezes, the ice keeps building and that creates the ice dam roof, and water from more melting snow can’t go anywhere. 

With that commonly asked question answered, we’ll move on to other questions, answering them with details that will educate and inform you about ice dam for rooftops. Connect with Swift Services LLC, 248-835-1135, about an ice dam roof in Troy, MI for even more information.

Do ice dams always cause damage? 

Next to the question we addressed in the last paragraph, the next question is “Can ice dams cause roof damage?” The answer to this is yes, ice dams can trigger various types of damage. It will damage the roof covering, and as the temperature reaches freezing again, that water will refreeze on the roof under the shingles in the gutters. Besides causing damage to the roof and gutters, the water will seep through the attic and onto the ceiling, down the walls. Paint peels on the inside and outside the house, the plaster is damaged, and it ruins the insulation in your attic. 

Will ice dams melt on their own?

If the attic is getting warm air from the house and that heat escape to the roof, the cycle of melting, thawing, refreezing will keep repeating itself. An ice dam for roof edge will not melt until the temperature is above freezing and the sun warms up the exterior of the roof.  

Ice dam roof edge will get heavier as it keeps repeating the process, and left long enough, which is common in the northern regions of the country, it will begin damaging the roof and gutter.  Ice dams are a danger to anyone or any pet that walks under it. Here we offer three ways you can complete an Ice dam removal

1.   Fill long socks with calcium chloride, tie the ends with a string the place them vertically over the ice dam roof edge, hanging approximately two inches over. This will melt the ice in a tube-like channel and allow any other water from melted ice to run off the roof. 

2.   This method will require getting up on the snow- and ice-covered roof, which can be dangerous. Using a mallet, break the ice dam roof, being careful. Then follow the above method with calcium chloride and socks placed where you’ve broken the ice.    

3.   The best method, and recommended method, is hire a professional roofer who will use steam to melt the ice after shoveling off loose snow and creating channels for the melting ice dam rooftop to run through.   

dripping ice dam roof

How do you stop ice dams from forming? 

As a homeowner, knowing how to repair ice dam roof will prevent damage to the roof, gutter system fascia and soffit. It will prevent anyone or an animal that could walk under the eaves of your house being hurt. 

  • After a snowfall, rake the snow 3 to 4 feet off the lower edge of your roof. This is when the snow is softest and the easiest to remove.  
  • Add insulation in the attic so that the heat can’t transfer to the roof, triggering the thaw and refreeze cycle that creates ice dam roof edges. 
  • Seal the attic where any possible air flow could leak. Even with ample amount of insulation in the attic, the warm air from the living space of your home still enters the attic. By sealing these possible leaks, it will eliminate the interior air flow from escaping. Areas that to seal are the plumbing and sewer vent pipes.
  • Install attic vents if your roof doesn’t have any, and if you do have attic vents, check them to make sure they are not blocked. 
  • Install deicing cables, even though they are visible, they will keep ice dam roof edge from forming. Be careful not to dislodge them when raking the roof after a snow fall.  
  • Have a deicing system professionally installed beneath the shingles the next time you have a new roof installed.

Are ice dams covered by insurance? 

If an ice dam roof edge has developed, but there isn’t any damage to your home, no, there is nothing to be covered. Nor will a homeowner’s policy pay to have an ice dam removed. This is considered homeowner responsibility, much like visual inspection of the roof, wrapping plumbing to prevent burst pipes, etc.  

These are all basic homeowners responsibility to take measures that protect your home from possible issues that can cause damage, such as ice dam on roof prevention. It is always best to check your policy and ask your agent about what they cover in your policy. 

icicles and ice dam roof

Dial 248-835-1135 to Get Started Today

Ice dam roof edges may look like a picture from a movie, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. What looks “pretty” could very well cause ugly damage to the house and the danger they pose for anyone walking by isn’t pretty. Call our team at 248-835-1135 for more about an ice dam roof in Troy, MI.