Protecting Your Home From Ice Damming

The warmer weather has been such a relief this past week, but the drastic temperature swings accompanied with large amounts of snow can cause a lot of damage to your home when ice damming occurs. So if you are noticing thick ice ridges on your roof or large icicles dangling from your gutters that look like death traps, you may want to give this a quick read.

Ice damming happens when snow melts on homes with poor insulation or inadequate ventilation only to freeze against the gutters. This causes thick ridges of solid ice to build up along the eaves. Eventually the water has nowhere to go, pools, and freezes again while migrating under the shingles potentially causing leaks into the home. It’s most common on older homes that requires more insulation like in the areas of Cathedral, Crescents, Washington Park, and Lakeview. But this doesn’t rule out newer homes either. If you notice these red flags, it could be a sign of inadequate ventilation or a poor installation of insulation.

If left untreated, ice damming could:

  • tear off gutters and eaves
  • loosen shingles and cause leaks into the attic
  • cause soggy insulation that loses R-Value and becomes a magnet for mould and mildew

You can prevent ice damming by:

  • improving your attic insulation to prevent heat loss
  • ensure proper ventilation so the attic remains cool
  • air seal attic penetrations like chimneys and plumbing stacks
  • make sure gutters are lower than the slope of the roof so snow and ice can glide off
  • look into having heated eaves cables installed along effected areas
  • have a professional remove the snow and ice off your roof during big snow falls


Take a look at this video from ASK THIS OLD HOUSE to explain how to treat and prevent ice damming



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