What are Ice Dams?

January 30, 2024





Ice Dams form when the underneath side of the roof over the attic gets warm and begins to melt the snow. Water will run down the shingles until it gets to the edge of the roof. The water will freeze when it reaches the edge of the roof because that area remains cold due to it extending beyond the edge of the house. This explains why it is important to keep the attic temperature as close as possible to the outside temperature. Then the problems begin because it gradually will grow into a huge mound of ice. Typically, the lower the pitch of the roof the more chances of ice dam problems. The steeper the pitch the snow will run off the roof easier and not stay trapped at the edge. Even gutters and gutter guards can cause ice and snow to form on them.

What are the main causes of Ice Dams?

  • An attic that does not have proper insulation
  • A house that does not have proper ventilation
  • Leaking air gaps between the living space and the attic

What are other factors that can cause Ice Dam issues?

  • An extreme amount of snow and freezing temps
  • The basic design of homes such as varying pitches, valleys, and angles
  • The sun can affect the snow melting as far as whether snow is on the south or north sides of the house
  • Making sure gutters and downspouts are clean

How can Ice Dams be prevented?

  • Pull bottom 3 ft. of snow off roof with snow rake before it freezes down
  • Add proper insulation to the attic
  • Make sure there is proper ventilation
  • Make sure soffit vents are not plugged
  • Make sure there is adequate soffit and roof vents

Can properly installed roofs still form Ice Dams?

  • Properly installed roofs can still be prone to leakage and damage due to ice dams
  • Ice Dams are an act of mother nature and common in cold and snowy conditions
  • Shingle manufacturers do not warrant against ice dams

Contact us today for your free insulation and ventilation inspection!

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