How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

We are no strangers to snow and ice here in Michigan, and our homes withstand a lot of cold, wet weather over the winter months. Sometimes, when there is a problem with your roof in the winter time, it is best to call a professional, but there are a few things you can do on your own to minimize the damage winter can do to your roof.

With the fluctuating temperatures, we see a lot of freezing and thawing during this time. Ice dams are one of those dreaded things that can form at the edge of your roof, and they can happen when warm air exits your house, causing the snow on your roof to melt. As it runs down the roof, it often freezes again before running off, causing ice buildup. When further snow melts, it gets trapped against this wall of ice, causing an even larger buildup. This can cause damage to your roof and possible leaks in your home. It can also cause some pretty large icicles.

Check the Ventilation and Insulation in Your Attic

The basic way to prevent ice dams is to make sure your attic is well-insulated and ventilated. One of the biggest reasons the snow on your roof melts in cold weather is because warm air is escaping from your ceiling to your attic, and then out of your attic. You can often check your attic insulation yourself. Add more insulation where you see areas that may be lacking insulation, and check especially around pipes and vents, where you may need to add foam or caulk. Attic ventilation allows cooler air from the outside to enter your attic. Most newer houses have good ventilation and insulation, but it is a good idea to check it out. Call a professional if you need ventilation installed or repaired.

Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clean

Another way to prevent ice dams is to make sure your gutters are clean, so the melting snow and ice can flow freely off of your roof and out your downspouts. If your roof has high peaks, it is best to call a professional to clean out your gutters for you.  

Sometimes ice dams build up on roofs even after we take these preventative measures.  In that case, getting advice from someone in the roofing business is a good idea. But, if you take the steps above, at least you will know you have taken care of some the quick fixes first. Taking care of your roof and adding insulation to your home will make it cozier on the inside too!


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