Ice Dam 101: What You Need to Know to Prevent Roof Damage This Winter

Freezing temperatures are finally starting to descend on Maryland and with the chilly weather will come a nightmare to roofs everywhere: Ice dams. These sheets of ice can wreak havoc on your roof, attic insulation, and home’s interior so it is important to take steps to prevent them. While it is impossible to guarantee that you will be able to get of rid them completely, there are ways to minimize their frequency. Learn all you need to know about ice dams in today’s blog.


Ice dams can quickly damage your roof.

What is an ice dam? How are they caused?

Ice dams are sheets of ice that accumulate along the lowest edge of your roof. They occur when heat melts the snow on your roof but frigid outdoor temperatures cause the water to re-freeze into sheets of dangerous ice. The ice-melting heat comes both from the sun (which can’t be avoided) as well as the warm air in your attic (which can).

What kind of damage can an ice dam create?

Ice dams can wreak havoc not only on your roof itself but also in your attic and interior of your home. An ice dam can quickly damage the shingles on your roof, cause your attic insulation to become waterlogged (and therefor lower its R-value), ruin your gutters, lead to the growth of mold, and cause a host of other problems. While it is important to respond to ice dams quickly in order to minimize their damage, prevention is by far your best option.

Do I need a new roof in order to eliminate ice dams?

While many homeowners assume that installing a new roof is the only way to mitigate ice dams, this is rarely the best option. Instead, it is important to ensure that your attic ventilation is balanced and that your attic insulation is appropriate for your climate. By ensuring that these two conditions are met, ice dams will be greatly reduced and you can allow your roof to live out the rest of its lifespan. Adding intake and exhaust vents in your attic as needed will allow accumulated heat to escape properly, rather than allowing it to collect and warm your roof enough to melt snow and ice. By keeping your roof’s temperature consistent, ice dams will be greatly reduced or even possibly eliminated completely.

Got roofing questions? Schaefer Siding and Exteriors has answers.

To learn more about keeping your roofing damage-free during the winter, contact Schaefer Siding and Exteriors today. Schaefer Siding and Exteriors has been installing and repairing roofs in Maryland since 1977. We’re both VSI certified and a CertainTeed 5-Star rated Contractor. To learn more, contact us today at 410-781-4028 or email us. You can also visit our website for more information.

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