How to Prevent Ice Dams and Roof Damage This Winter

Published: February 15th, 2019 | Category: Roofing

The Twin Cities and the entire Midwest has been hit with subzero, arctic-like temperatures as well as ice and snow that have taken a toll on many area homes and especially their roofs. It is important to keep an eye on your roof to avoid ice dams and other roof damaging occurrences. These extreme amounts of snow can quickly become troublesome, causing ice dams to form as the snow accumulates. As the expert roofing contractor for Minneapolis and the entire Twin Cities area, we would like to offer up some winter home care tips to help protect your home and its roof this winter. 

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Area residents should be aware of what an ice dam is as they can be a common occurrence in our part of the country. An ice dam is formed on a slanted roof when heat from the attic causes snow on the roof to melt. Ice dams form when your roof warms to above 32 degrees F, warm enough to melt the snow, while the roof edge remains below freezing. This water then flows down the roof and freezes when it reaches the edge of the roof where it comes in contact with the colder air. This keeps additional run off from draining off of the roof. The water then builds up behind the ice dam where it can seep under shingles and into the house. The telltale sign of an ice dam is a lot of icicles or a large icicle hanging from the roof. You might also find ice in your gutters or downspouts which will cause water to back up behind it and into the house.

Ice dams are often the result of a warm attic. So, the key to preventing ice dams is keeping your attic and roof cold. One of the best ways to do so is with proper insulation and ventilation. It is essential your attic is properly insulated so be sure to upgrade your insulation in order to prevent damaging ice dams. Choose an insulation with a high R-value to reduce heat loss by conduction. It is also important to improve attic ventilation. Allowing heated air to escape in a controlled manner will help keep the roof colder which will reduce the melting of the snow.

One action you can now is to remove snow from your roof. Exercising extreme caution, use a snow rake to remove snow. Don’t try to chip through any ice as this can cause damage to your shingles. And, if you have leakage from an ice dam and can’t rake the snow off the roof, the best way to get rid of the ice dam is to hire a residential roofing contractor to steam it off.

Do you need help with ice dams? Contact our roofing contractor in Minneapolis by calling JTR Roofing at 651-777-7394 or contact us