ice dam image courtesy of Graphic is courtesy of our partners at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) at

Ice Dams: How to Prevent Ice Dams from Ruining your Roof!

Don’t Let Ice Dams Ruin Your Roof!

Many things can be terrible for your roof. Rain can wash away your shingles’ protective granules, hail can put holes in your roof, and we’ve written an entire article about how terrible trees can be to your roof . Ice dams are a major problem for your roof, so in this article, we’ll tell you all about them and what you can do to treat and prevent them.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a thick ridge of solid ice that forms along your house’s eaves in the winter. The reason ice dams are so bad is they prevent water from draining off your roof. Meltwater has to go somewhere, so if it can’t drain into your eavestroughs, it will back up and go under your shingles, through your roof and into your home.

Picture from Flickr: How an ice dam is formed Graphic is courtesy of our partners at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) at Source:

Picture from Flickr: How an ice dam is formed
Graphic is courtesy of our partners at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) at

How Do Ice Dams Form?

No, there aren’t little beavers building dams made of ice on your roof. Ice dams form when the hot air from the attic melts the snow on the roof. The water will flow down the slope of the roof until it reaches the eaves where the roof isn’t as warm. Once it’s at the edge of the roof, it freezes.

When more snow comes and melts from the heat of your roof, an ice dam will get bigger and bigger. Water won’t be able to drain because it is blocked by a giant hunk of ice.

Ice dams cause all kinds of problems:

  • They can make water leak into your house.
  • They cause damage to your gutters. They can even tear them right off!
  • They can loosen shingles.
  • They can soak your insulation, making it less effective.
  • They can raise the humidity and cause mold to grow.

How Do I Prevent Ice Dams?

Since ice dams form when the heat from your attic melts the snow on your roof, the best way to prevent them is to have a well insulated attic with good ventilation. The idea is to keep the area under the roof cool so that snow on the roof doesn’t melt.

Keeping your gutters clean and clog-free is another way to prevent ice dams. If water can drain freely off your roof, it won’t form icy ridges along your eaves.

You can also prevent ice dams by making sure that there are no heat sources in your attic. Things like recessed lighting, exhaust vents from bathrooms or the kitchen, and furnaces can really warm up the attic. Do your best to eliminate any heat sources you find.

When we put in a new roof, we always install drip edge. It has a steel edge that helps prevent ice and water from backing up and rotting out your house’s facia.

And, finally, you can prevent ice dams by raking the snow off your roof so that it doesn’t build up. If you need help with snow removal, get the professionals at Crest Roofing to help.

What To Do If You Have an Ice Dam

You might not know what to do if you have an ice dam because they aren’t something we all know about and talk about with our friends. They’re more likely to be something you only heard of because a roofing professional told you that’s why your ceiling is leaking and your walls are wet.

Maybe you’re just hearing about them now because someone shared this article on social media. Whatever the case, here’s the solution to the ice dam problem: Melt it.

Specifically, use a chemical de-icer to melt the ice dam, not a propane torch or hair dryer. It might be tempting to just hack away at it with a hammer, chainsaw, or screwdriver, but using brute force to break up the ice is dangerous and risky.

You could hurt your roof or yourself instead of just applying a layer of chemicals and letting time do the work for you.

How Can Crest Roofing Help with Ice Dams?

Roof work doesn’t stop in the winter. We can help you properly insulate your attic and make sure it is well insulated. If you need snow removed from your roof, we can help you with that too.

Just give us a call at (780) 466-1601 or send us a message via our contact page.

Share this article with your friends so they don’t get stuck with an ice dam this winter!

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Another common winter roof problem is Ice Damming along the eaves of your roof. […]

  2. […] separate and break their watertight seal. They only form under certain conditions. Read more about Ice Dams and How To Prevent Them […]

  3. […] Ice dams , which are ridges of ice along the eaves. Usually they have icicles hanging off them. […]

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