How to Prevent Ice Dams from Forming on Your Roof

A ridge of ice forms along your roof’s edges during severe winter weather. When the temperature begins to warm, the snow and ice will start to melt, but the heavy accumulation of ice will form a dam which causes the water to pool on your roof. The water quickly seeps beneath your shingles. It can damage soffits, ceilings and walls. You will notice stains on your drywall, and your paint may begin to peel. Ice dams can cause extensive damage to a house.

Keeping your roof and attic cold will successfully prevent ice dams. Here are a few tips to keep your roof’s temperature below 32 degrees F.

  • Plug any holes in the attack that allow the warm air from the house to seep upwards. Gaps in the drywall, around light fixtures, plumbing pipes and fireplaces can all allow warm air to escape into the attic. If the attic warms up, the roof will also become warm, so preventing warm air from entering the attic space will help keep the roof cool.
  • Make sure there is at least 8 inches of insulation in the attic. Adding more insulation will help keep the temperature in the attic low.
  • Adding ventilation to your attic space will help draw cold air inside. You can never have too much ventilation. Adding one vent in one sq. foot per every 300 sq. feet of attic space will help add ample ventilation to the area. The ventilation helps to keep the roof cold.

Here are a few tips to help prevent ice dams from building up if you cannot raise the temperature of the roof.

  • Apply an adhesive ice barrier along the the roof’s outside margin.
  • Rake the snow off the roof
  • Lay heat cables along the roof’s edge to keep ice cams from forming

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