A Frozen Threat

Ice Dams

When you live in an area prone to winter weather, damage from winter precipitation can be a hazard. Protect your property and your family with help from AmeriPro Roofing! We have the roofing solutions you need to prevent ice dams and keep your home safe.

What Is an Ice Dam?

A roof ice dam forms when snow melts and then refreezes on your roof. Snow at the top of the roof will melt and flow down to the edge by the gutter or soffit before freezing. As the wall of ice grows, it prevents the rest of the melting snow from draining away, directing the water into your house instead.

What Are the Signs of an Ice Dam?

There are many visual cues you can check for to see if you have an ice dam, including:

  • Icicles forming on the edge of the roof or off of the gutter.
  • Ice coming through the soffit.
  • Water or ice appearing on the exterior wall.
  • Water seeping through the ceiling, wall, door frame or window.

Your home may also be prone to ice dams if you have a history of them. Older homes sometimes have insufficient insulation, leading to inconsistent roof temperatures.

What Causes Ice Dams?

For an ice dam to form, the upper sections of the roof’s surface must be above the freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while the lower roof surfaces must be below that point. When the roof has varying temperatures, snow on the higher portions of the roof will melt, flowing down and eventually freezing to form an ice dam on the edge.

As more snow melts and freezes, the ice dam will grow until it reaches the warmer part of the roof. Water will then start to back up behind the dam, flowing into cracks and openings in the roof covering.

Varying roof temperatures can result from a range of conditions:

  • Poor ventilation under the roof
  • Insufficient insulation
  • Clogged gutters
  • Heavy snow
Hail Covering a Roof

How Do I Prevent Ice Dams?

Ice dams can cause significant damage and harm to your property and family, so preventing them is vital. You can keep ice dams from forming by:

  • Getting an inspection: Have a reliable roofing company perform an inspection to identify problem areas and make any suggested repairs. Our team at AmeriPro Roofing is happy to provide a complimentary inspection.

  • Preparing your roof: Remove all leaves, sticks and debris from your gutters before snow starts to fall. You might also consider installing a water-repellent roof membrane to help protect your attic from leaks.

  • Insulating your attic: Keep your attic cold by insulating the attic floor. Check for heat sources that need insulation, including recessed lights, bathroom or kitchen vent fans, attic stair openings, ductwork, and furnace or water-heating equipment.

  • Clearing away snow: If you experience a heavy snowstorm, carefully rake or shovel snow off the roof the next day before it freezes to prevent any damage to your roof. Exercise caution and be careful to keep yourself and your roof protected.

What Harm Do Ice Dams Cause?

Ice dams can lift roof shingles, allowing water to leak inside. Your home could suffer significant water damage, including peeling paint, warped floors, stains and saggy ceilings.

As water from melting snow seeps into your house, penetrating walls, ceilings, insulation and other interior areas, the excess moisture could lead to mold and mildew growth. If attic insulation gets wet, it can become ineffective.

The accumulation of ice can cause or worsen wood rot, damaging the structural integrity of your home. Weight from the dams can pull gutters off and loosen shingles, further damaging your house’s structure. Falling gutters or icicles can also pose a physical danger.