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  • Writer's pictureRod McLeod

Understanding Ice Damming and How to Prevent it

As winter blankets our homes in a glistening layer of snow, the charm can come with challenges. One such challenge that many homeowners face is ice damming. Ice damming occurs when snow on the roof melts, refreezes at the eaves, and creates a barrier for melting water. This seemingly harmless phenomenon can lead to significant damage if not addressed promptly. In this blog, we'll delve into the causes of ice damming, its potential consequences, and what proactive measures and remedies homeowners can take to protect their homes.

Understanding Ice Damming:

Causes: Ice damming is often a result of temperature variations on the roof. When the upper part of the roof is warmer than the lower portion, snow melts and flows down. As it reaches the colder eaves, it refreezes, forming a dam.

Consequences: The consequences of ice damming can be severe. As the dam blocks melting snow from draining off the roof, the water can seep into the attic, causing damage to insulation, ceilings, and even structural components. Additionally, the weight of the ice can strain the roof, leading to potential collapses.

Prevention Tips:

1. Adequate Insulation: Ensure your attic is properly insulated to maintain a consistent temperature on the roof. This prevents uneven melting and refreezing.

2. Ventilation: Proper attic ventilation helps regulate temperature and prevents the accumulation of warm air that can contribute to ice dam formation.

3. Roof Raking: Regularly rake excess snow off your roof, especially after heavy snowfalls. This helps minimize the potential for melting and refreezing.

4. Ice and Water Shield: Consider installing an ice and water shield beneath your roofing material. This acts as an additional barrier against water penetration.

Remediation Steps:

1. Safe Removal: If ice dams have already formed, it's crucial to remove them safely. Using a roof rake or hiring professionals equipped with steamers can be effective.

2. Heat Cables: Installing heat cables along the eaves can help prevent the formation of dams by promoting consistent melting.

3. Professional Inspection: Engage a roofing professional to inspect your roof and attic. They can identify potential issues and provide tailored solutions.



Ice damming is a common winter woe, but with proactive measures and timely remedies, homeowners can safeguard their homes from potential damage. By understanding the causes, implementing preventive strategies, and addressing existing dams promptly, you can enjoy a cozy winter without worrying about the hazards lurking on your roof. Stay warm, stay safe, and let your home be a haven all season long.

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