Don't Let Ice Dams Dampen What's Left of Your Holiday Spirit

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

As Malvern’s favorite metal roofing contractor, Certitude Home Improvements receives numerous questions about roofing issues. In this season, one of the main problems homeowners face is that of ice dams. We would like to share a little knowledge on what an ice dam is, what to do when you find one, and why metal roofing poses a deterrent to their formation.

What Is an Ice Dam?

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An ice dam begins to form when a roof is unevenly heated in the winter time, typically from lack of adequate insulation in the attic of a home.  The heat lost melts the snow cover on a roof, which then trickles down to the very edge of the eaves, where it re-freezes.  As the little mound of ice continues to grow, it forms a dam, catching any subsequent melting snow and trapping it in the same area.

This eventually allows the water to penetrate and seep into your roof, causing water damage to your home.

How Can I Treat One?

Since ice dams are formed by uneven temperatures of your roof, you must first ensure that your home is not inadvertently expending energy heating the roof. For this step, you should check your insulation.

If this does not solve the problem, you may wish to seek out additional means of prevention.

6 Steps: Ice Dam Management

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While icicles forming off the edge of your roof may be holiday card beautiful, they indicate uneven thawing and freezing. Expensive, heated household air is radiating into the attic space. Six steps you can take to counter ice dams are:

  1. Remove icicles without damaging gutters
  2. Remove snow from the roof, safely, from the ground using a snow rake, following the vertical seams of the metal roof
  3. Ensure the ceiling below the attic is well insulated, including areas around recessed lighting fixtures
  4. Ensure your attic hatchway has weather stripping
  5. Increase attic insulation atop joists to keep the attic air as cold as possible
  6. Consider adding snow and ice melting heating lines along the roof edge
  7. Make sure your roof is properly ventilated, which will provide numerous advantages and extend the life of your roof

 Design Advantage of Metal Roof

Although homes with metal roofs are not immune from ice dams, they do offer some advantages:

  • The vertically aligned seams help break up snow pack.
  • The slippery surface sloughs insulating snow off, allowing the metal roof to reach the same temperature as the surrounding air.
  • The continuous metal surface keeps roughly the same temperature throughout—critical in preventing uneven melting and freezing.

The valleys of metal roofs are more vulnerable to ice dams, as are low-pitched metal roofs. And, of course, a major snowstorm can leave a thick pack of insulating snow on the roof, starting the cycle anew.

Before winter’s worst weather, consider calling the reliable Malvern metal roofing contractor, Certitude Home Improvements, to have your metal roof inspected. We can provide customized suggestions for countering ice dams and keeping that rooftop ready for a visit from a right jolly old elf and eight tiny reindeer.

Contact Certitude Home Improvements today!


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Certitude Home Improvements
18 E Lancaster Ave
Malvern, PA 19355