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Ice Dam

Key Benefits

  • Remove the weight of snow and ice from the roof
  • Prevents damage to roof structure
  • Prevents or stops leaks in the home


  • Ice Dam Removal
  • Roof Snow Removal
  • Artic Style Roof Specifications
  • Attic Moisture Repairs
  • Roof Heating System Installation
  • Downpipe and Gutter Melting System

How do I Prevent Ice Dams?

Prevention depends on a clear understanding of what causes ice dams. Because heat rises, the air in your attic is warmest at the top or ridge and coolest down by the eaves. That’s why snow on the roof will begin to melt first at the top and why it tends to refreeze when it reaches the cooler eaves. With nowhere else to go, accumulating ice backs up under the shingles, under the roofing sheathing and, as it warms and melts, causes interior leaks.

Ice dams are not caused by overflowing gutters, dark coloured shingles that absorb heat or low roof pitch, although each of these can contribute to roofing problems. Ice dams are caused by heat build-up in your attic and inadequate ventilation and insulation.

So ice dams can be prevented but you should know the only quick fix is the removal of the snow and ice and this only provides temporary relief.

What Are the Implications of Having an Ice Dam?

1) Your roof was damaged by the ice as “water migration pathways” were established by the extreme weather conditions. These pathways will not self-correct. These “pathways” may not leak in rain, but will leak again with snow. Once the pathway is established, typically less severe conditions will cause reoccurring leaks.

2) The area of your roof that leaked will require extraordinary Arctic Roof Specifications, and the best way to prevent the reoccurrence is by evaluating the following areas of the home:

  • Air sealing (preventing air leaks)
  • Insulation
  • Proper attic ventilation
  • Enhanced Arctic Style Roof Specifications to the affected area of the roof
  • Improved drainage system
  • For Complicated or a Bad Roof Designs: “Roof and Drainage Melting Systems”

Air Sealing

Sealing bypasses (warm air leaks) from interior rooms to the attic is probably the most effective way to prevent ice dams. Bypasses are typically found around vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches, wall/ceiling framing joints, wiring and lighting fixtures. Use silicone caulk, poly plastic as fill materials, foam sealant, or a combination of all three to stop air flow around these areas.

Having a well-insulated attic is an excellent way to increase energy efficiency and may slow down heat loss, but ice dams may still persist because warm air may bypass through insulation.

Enhanced Arctic Style Roof Specifications

If you are building a new home, or reroofing an older home, you should always insist that waterproofing shingle underlayment be installed before your roof shingles are applied. It is completely resistant to water and is a critical last line of defense against leaks, preventing backed up water from getting into our home wherever it is applied. While shingle underlayment does not prevent the formation of ice dams, it will prevent backed up water from getting into the house.

Improved Drainage System

Not only is it important to clean out your eavestrough, but you should also make sure your downpipes have been cleaned and flushed. Properly sloped and clean gutters will help prevent the freezing of water that could start backing up on to the roof. Flat roofs with limited drains run this risk every year and should be properly maintained and evaluated during the winter months. Downpipes that drain out onto another roof can also cause problems and should be extended into the eaves.

Roof and Drainage Melting Systems

These are always used as a last resort. They can be effective if designed and installed correctly however we have seen cases where they have made the problem worse. True professionals will always recommend you deal with the problem from the source.

Do I Need Help?

If you have icicles hanging off your eavestrough, piles of snow building up on your roof or leaks coming into your home, call us today.

Leaks from ice dams or melting snow should always be looked at by a professional. Contact us today to book a service call with one of our professionals to inspect and assess your needs.

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