How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

Ice dams are caused when melted snow refreezes along the edge of a roof, preventing water from draining. Water backs up behind the ice dam, essentially sitting on your roof and causing some not-so-good problems!

Many times, we’ve had customers call us thinking their gutters were causing the icicles and ice dams. This is not the case. The actual culprit may surprise you.

Your attic!

A warm attic is the cause of ice dams during the winter months. As heat from inside your home rises, it warms the shingles on your roof, causing the snow to melt. As the melted snow runs off the roof, it will typically refreeze once it gets past the outside walls of your house (the roof overhang) where it is no longer being heated. This refreezing process is the perfect condition for ice dams to form.

Here are some reasons why your attic may be heating up during the winter:

  • Drop down attic stairs
  • Lack of insulation allowing heat to rise through your ceiling
  • Air handler and air duct vents in your attic
  • Lack of ventilation which allows heat to become trapped in the attic
  • Cathedral ceilings with improper insulation
  • Recessed lights, or light canisters in the ceiling below attic
  • Metal pipe chimneys

How can you prevent ice dams in the future?

The best prevention against ice dams is to ensure that your attic temperature is as close to the outside temperature as possible. If ice dams do occur, you want to be sure that your roof is protected from water seepage as much as possible. Newer roofs, by code, now have an ice and water barrier to prevent ice dam water from penetrating your house. When we install a GAF roof, our Master Elite roofers will always put an ice and water barrier on the eaves, gables, hips, ridges and valleys of your home.

Have you experienced water damage to your roof due to ice dams? Call us today to schedule a free, in-home consultation!

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