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Residential Roofs : A Definitive Guide to Preventing Ice Dams

October 17, 2022

Do you live in an area that is exposed to frosty weather and snowfall? If yes, your home may get vulnerable to ice damming that can damage your roof shingles and eventually your walls. You need to invest in regular roof maintenance to mitigate any ice damming effects on your property. It is, therefore, imperative that homeowners should hire a roofing contractor for roof inspection services at regular intervals. Initiating a roof maintenance project will help to keep the roof in shape and also cut unnecessary costs on damage.

Damages Ice Dams May Cause

During the process of ice dam formations and subsequent melting, water trickles down below the shingles. It will eventually seep into the insulation, into the ceilings, attic or exterior walls below the eave. In the process, it may ruin sheetrock and paint. When the ice dam melts or breaks, it can pluck away shingles or even gutters along, damaging everything it falls on — windowsills, shrubs, vehicles, or may even cause injuries to people and pets. Also, a wet roof sheathing is likely to form mold, compromising the quality of air in your home.

How to Fix an Ice Dam Issue?

You can get the ice dam issue fixed through a couple of ways of dealing with existing ice dams and prevent forming them any further.

Getting Rid of Existing Ice Dams

  • Try breaking ice dams in small chunks. Avoid using any sharp equipment or tool such as a hammer, ax or any other sharp tool. You may end up tearing the shingles. Instead, you can tap the ice dams lightly with a blunt hammer with a wooden head. It’s a painstaking process, and it is advisable to hire a licensed and experienced roofer for roof inspection services
  • Use calcium chloride ice melter to liquefy troughs through the ice dam. Avoid using rock salt because it will damage metals, paint, and plants underneath the eave and whichever places the salty water drips
  • Remove ice from gutters and downspouts. Again, this process involves ladder work, and may cause damage to metal gutters and spouts

Prevent forming Ice Dams

You can use a plastic shovel or rake to scrape. If you find the task tiresome and too demanding, you can hire a professional roofer who is adept at using a safety line.

NOTE: Even if the roofing structure of your home is not quite steep, ice dams can still develop on your metal roofing and drip edges.

The Solution?

In order to get rid of ice dams, it is imperative to address the root cause. The problem of ice dams primarily occur because of poor venting and insulation of spaces under the roofing cover. The ideal way to have control over the ice dam menace, it is ideal to resort to the following steps:

  • Seal all areas and points that allow warm air to leak
  • Insulate your living space thoroughly to curb heat conduction and convection through the ceiling
  • Ventilate the area between the roof sheathing and insulation


Ice dams can damage your roof, causing you to shell out a large amount of money on roof repair or replacements. Apart from this, ice dams can lead to the formation of mold spores that are harmful contaminants. Should you wish to learn more concerning the prevention and removal of ice damming, feel free to consult one of our representatives for a no-obligation consultation.

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