This winter has already proven to be the worst Minnesota has seen in over 30 years– and the worst part–it’s not even over yet! Most people know that shoveling their driveways and winterizing their homes is what needs to be done this time of year. But, what about their roofs? A lot of homeowners tend to forget how important a snow-free roof is, and regular maintenance is key to preventing ice dams and other damage. All types and ages of homes and buildings need ice dam removal, so it is important to check your roof often.

What are Ice Dams?

Ice dams are an extensive and damaging winter roofing issue stemmed from poor roof ventilation and warm attic space. If ice dams are left untouched, they can cause serious damage to your roof, gutters, paint, insulation, drywall, and can even cause mold growth.

Ice dams develop when snow on a roof starts to melt and then travels off and re-freezes near the edges. As more snow melts and reaches the edge to re-freeze, the ice dam grows larger and larger. The melted water can also backup underneath the shingles of the roof and work its way into the house, causing interior and exterior damage. Although snow is cold and wet, it provides insulation–which is the reason why ice dams are more common after a heavy snow fall.

What Causes Ice Dams?

Ice dams generally occur along the edge of the roof, typically above the overhang. Heat and warm air seeps up from the inside of the home, which melts the snow. Every extra inch of snow contributes to more insulation. The melted snow then makes its way down to the corner edge of the roof and refreezes. With the subzero temperatures we’ve had this winter, it doesn’t take long for deep freezes at the eaves.

Many homeowners suspect that gutters are the main reason for ice dams, but in fact, they are not. However, gutters contribute to the buildup of ice and water in very exposed regions at the edge of the roof, which can make matters a little more complicated. Commonly, as gutters begin to fill with ice, they tend to bend and rip away from the house, bringing fascia, fasteners, and downspouts in tow.

Solving the Issue

The best way to prevent ice dams from forming is to keep the entire roof cold. Many homes have small leaks somewhere in the attic that needs to be blocked to help keep warm air from seeping into the attic. Other methods include increasing the thickness of insulation on the attic floor, and installing a continuous soffit and ridge vent system.

Never attempt to go up on an icy or snowy roof to remove ice dams yourself, as many inexperienced homeowners have been injured from falling off a ladder or a slippery roof. If you have ice dams that need removal, leave it to the professionals at Tollefson Bros Exteriors, Inc. Our team of experts have had years of ice dam experience. We know how to keep your roof from needing unwanted repairs.

If you have any questions, call Tollefson Bros Exteriors, Inc. Today at 952-881-2218!