Our standing snow pack is larger than it is has been in several years and with that comes the risk of ICE DAMMING if you have significant amounts of snow accumulation on your roof. This can happen when it remains settled toward the edges of your roof where your eaves/gutters/downspouts are or in valleys if your roof is a more complex design.

ice damming diagram

Ice can accumulate in your gutters creating of back up or damming of melt water that can then leak into your home.

What is an Ice Dam? 

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and in your eavestrough and downspouts which prevents melt water from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam and under shingles then can leak into a home and cause serious damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas. Water leaking in to your home can lead to secondary risks like mold growth and can cause potentially dangerous respiratory problems in the future.

What Causes Ice Damming? 

Nonuniform roof surface temperatures lead to ice dams.

Heat loss from a house, snow cover and outside temperatures interact to form ice dams. An Ice Dam will begin to form when hot air escaping from your house meets cold air and cold snow on your roof. The heat exposed snow begins to melt and run down the roof, as the melt water hits the colder, unexposed snow it begins to freeze. This thawing and freezing creates the ice dam.

Preventing Ice Damming

Ice dams are never completely avoidable, but please follow the tips below to decrease your chances of them forming in the future.

  1. Our #1 tip would be to connect with us so that we can discuss the factors and your unique situation including: roof pitch, exposure, snow pack tendency vs prevailing winds, eaves maintenance, etc.
  2. Together, we can find the areas of your home where hot air is escaping into spaces next to your roof deck, like your attic and exterior walls, this includes examining and addressing proper insulation.
  3. Your roof and attic needs to be properly vented. Trapped hot air is no good in any temperature.
  4. Proper snow removal can help but can sometimes damage shingles and… please hire a professional for any dangerous work!!
  5. There are various methods to melt ice and dams to free trapped water with proper consideration.
  6. When repairs are necessary we ensure that the roofing company properly installs ice damming paper (required by code).
  7. If it’s a persistent problem, there are options for installing heat lines such as in the eaves for future prevention.
  8. And, of course, learn more about the NCC Advantage Program!

We recently launched an incredible program within our community to help clients complete projects in a more confident manner with professional and trustworthy trades. As a member of the North Canadian Advantage Program, you will have access to our reliable, professional industry trades and experienced certified technicians for all of your projects big or small!

We would like to extend a FREE membership to you for any personal or commercial property that you own.