How To Protect Your Roof From Ice Dams

Posted in Roofing tips

Ice dams can form on the roof lines and at the eaves of your roof potentially causing serious damage to your home if they become large enough. Here is how you can prevent this potential problem from happening.

What’s An Ice Dam?

If you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, you might have experienced the occurrence of ice dams. An ice dam is a horizontal ridge of ice that usually forms at the edge of a roof.

Ice dams are usually caused by poor ventilation around the eaves of a roof, resulting in excess moisture being trapped against the shingles. As this excess moisture freezes, it causes the ice dams which are more prone to occur in areas that get more snowfall. This especially happens when there are multiple layers of snow on a roof, trapping moisture.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Ice dams form when the roof of a house is colder than the air in the attic. This may happen, if warm air from inside a house is leaking out around a cold window or door. As a result, the warm air melts any snow on the roof. When this water melts, snow runs down to the eave of your home and freezes, forming an ice dam. Ice dams are pretty common in areas where it’s cold. Ice dams can lead to serious problems that can cause your whole roof to cave in.

Prevention Tips

Ice dam prevention is crucial to avoid roof damage and even collapse. Use some of the tips below to avoid roof repair. 

Roof Rake

Roof rakes are simple tools that will loosen up the snow on your roof and take snow off without damaging your roof. With this tool, you will be able to remove the snow and ice before it has a chance to accumulate and form ice dams under shingles.

Heat Cables

Heat cables are a relatively inexpensive, time-tested method to reduce the risk of ice dams forming above your home’s roofline. These long, thin, moisture-resistant cables are placed on the roof in a pattern that aims to channel water away from the building. They are then plugged into an electrical outlet, where they radiate heat just above freezing to help prevent ice dams from forming. 

Improve Your Attic’s Insulation

An ice dam generally forms on roofs with poor attic insulation, narrow eaves, improper attic ventilation, or around poorly insulated skylights. Insulation must be installed properly to keep heat from escaping through your attic floor. Insulation should extend out onto the roofline to prevent heat loss through the eaves.


One form of ice dam prevention is ventilation. Proper ventilation means that the attic ceiling has plenty of open space for warm, humid air to rise through the ceiling and exit through vents in the roof. This open circulation reduces the chance of condensation forming on the roof decking products, which is where the majority of ice dams form.

Protect Your Roof by Hiring a Pro

Professional roofing contractors can prevent ice dams from forming on your roof by doing a thorough inspection of your roof and attic to spot areas of potential problems. Roofers will then draft an ice dam prevention plan for you that involves installing flashing with pores that are too small for ice to collect, as well as the installation of ridge caps. At Let it Rain, we provide a full range of services including roof repair and replacements as needed. Book an appointment for a roof inspection or call us at 1-877-686-7246 to learn more on how we can help you protect your roof.