How to protect your home from ice dams


Cold, warmer, colder – no we’re not describing a childhood game of hot and cold, but rather the sporadic weather conditions we’ve been experiencing this winter. Unfortunately, this rollercoaster cycle of freezing and melting conditions greatly increases the risk of ice dams being formed on rooflines. Read on to find out how you can help prevent ice damage to your home.

How do ice dams form?

When snow falls on your roof it acts like a layer of insulation. As heat rises in our homes, it warms attics and causes the snow on rooftops to melt.  This water then migrates toward the roof edge and soffit. If proper drainage is not possible, the water refreezes and creates an ice dam along your roofline.

How do ice dams cause damage?

Once ice dams form they can damage your roof by allowing water and ice to permeate shingles and soffit. When this water refreezes, the ice expands and leaves your roof further exposed to damage. If water is allowed to enter the attic, it can damage the roof, insulation, ceiling, walls and ultimately the contents of your home. Moist insulation can also lead to a rise in the temperature of the attic, speeding up the growth of ice dams and potentially leading to mold during warmer summer months.

How do I prevent ice dams?

By following these simple steps, you can greatly reduce the chance of ice damming on your roof:

  • Ensure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated
  • Properly seal around exhaust fans, ducts, chimneys, attic hatches and pipe penetrations (trusted contractors are best to handle these jobs)
  • Keep the snow load on your roof to a minimum
  • Keep gutters and downspouts free of snow and ice buildup at all times

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