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Prevent Ice Dams on Roof

Ice Dams on Roof
Ice dams occur when snow on a building roof begins to melt as heat escapes from inside the building. The melting snow water runs down the roof into the gutters where it freezes and clogs the water flow, forming an ice dam. As more snow continues to melt and drain, the water is forced under the roof shingles where it can linger and eventually cause leaks.

Preventing Ice Dams

  • To help prevent ice dams from forming:
    • Increase insulation on attic floors and all ceilings.
    • Periodically inspect the roof drainage system to ensure there are no drainage issues with gutters and downspouts. Add this step to your building maintenance plan top ensure this critical step is not overlooked.
  • For Roofs with a Steep Slope:
    • Keep snow accumulations on the roof to a minimum to help prevent ice dam formation.
    • Use a roof rake to remove accumulated snow from areas of the roof that can be reached.
    • Consult a professional roofing contractor to have snow removed from steep roofs.
  • For Flat or Low-Sloped Roofs:
    • Commercial buildings with flat roofs can be particularly vulnerable to ice dams if not properly maintained and checked.
    • Consult a professional roofing contractor to ensure the pitch of the roof system allows for adequate drainage from melting snow.

Removing Ice Dams

The best option for most roofs is to use a roof rake to pull snow from the roof to the ground. However, if in doubt, contact a professional roofing contractor to ensure that even the most steeply sloped areas of the roof are maintained properly. Preventing accumulating snow from melting and refreezing in the building drainage system is the best way to prevent ice dams.