Dam It! Preventing Ice Dams and the Damage They Bring

In almost every quintessential Christmas movie, there’s always an exterior shot of a house with icicles forming a beautiful and shining awning on your roof.

But, beautiful as these ice formations might be, they’re highly damaging to your roof and, if not addressed immediately, to the interiors of your home. This is especially a problem now that spring is here and the snow on your roof is melting.

Ice Dams and How They Form

Ice dams form when the snow closest to the roof melts from the heated temperature inside your home. The melted snow then finds its way to your roof’s gutters where it can be obstructed either by leaves and debris in the gutter or by the snow that refreezes because of colder temperatures outside, thus forming ice dams.

The former situation can be easily avoidable if you clean your gutters regularly and have adequate leaf gutter protection. The latter scenario is more complicated.

At the end of winter and the beginning of spring, the snow that has accumulated on the eaves of your roof begins to thaw, then freezes, then thaws again. Your roofing materials, including the shingles and tar paper, can get damaged and become more susceptible to leaks as the thawing/freezing cycle continues.

While on the surface, it may appear that the eaves of your roof are snow-laden, what you don’t see is the melted water that continues to accumulate with nowhere to go to. Eventually, the water will find cracks in your roofing and seep through your ceiling and interior walls.

Damage Caused by Ice Dams

Once the water from the melted snow seeps through your roof, you must act immediately. Otherwise, it may severely damage your attic, ceiling, and walls. Once the melted water has seeped into your home, it will slowly flow into different rooms through cracks in the walls.

The melted water can soak your insulation materials, making them ineffective. What’s more, once these materials, as well as your walls or ceiling, become waterlogged and rotten, they transform into a breeding ground for mold and fungus. These things will not only make your interiors unsightly, but they also bring potential health and safety risks.

Preventing the Formation of Ice Dams

The prevention of ice dam formation and the damage it may cause starts before winter – and it doesn’t end until the snow has completely melted off your roof.

First, you must properly winterize your roof. This includes cleaning your gutter, inspecting roofing materials like shingles, and replacing your sealants.

After that, you can prevent the formation of ice dams using proper ventilation. As mentioned earlier, the heat loss from your attic warms the roof and melts the snow that forms into a dam. By keeping the heat out of your attic and making sure the roof deck is properly ventilated, you help prevent the formation of ice dams.

Additionally, you should also not let overly large quantities of snow accumulate on your roof during winter. This means clearing off the ice and snow every now and then over the course of the winter. Roofs are built to withstand certain weights, but they can collapse under too much snow – another factor you need to watch out for.

The Roof and Gutter Services You Need


Don’t wait until your interiors, gutters, and roofing materials are damaged by ice dams. Call Bruce Andrews Seamless Gutters for the roofing and gutter services you need. With over two decades of experience protecting Minnesota and Wisconsin homes and establishments through our services, you’ll have a roofing system that can and will withstand those pesky ice dams.

Contact us today at 877-594-7449 for more information about our services.