Keep Your Roof Free from Ice Dams This Winter with These Simple Tips

Ice dams are common occurrences in the winter- solid ridges of ice that form along your roof’s edges. Ice dams tend to be very thick and rigid, and after forming, they can block melting snow from running off your rooftops as it would before. As the snow melts in some parts of your roof due to heat from the attic, it begins to run along the slope. Since the eaves are cold it could re-freeze and form a dam right there. It has a compounding effect, as it blocks more runoff once it is formed. These formations can severely damage your roof if not dealt with swiftly, lifting the shingles and causing leaks and breakage. However, prevention is better than cure, and there are some things you can do today to stop them from ever forming.

Install the Right Roof

Experts believe that it is best to have a simple gable. Avoid intricate roof designs that unnecessarily invite issues – ice, snow, and pine needles can accumulate in cracks and crevices, causing unthinkable damage. According to Forbes, a simple gable roof seems to be quite strong and robust and is perfect for shedding snow easily. Remember to strategically place chimneys close to the roof ridge. Opt for a metal roof since it is known for longevity, rarely has a leak, and quickly sheds snow. Make sure that your roof has no openings.

Use Heated Cables

Heated cables seek to solve the problem that causes dams to form in the first place- the cold edges of your roof. These cables are attached to the eaves following a zigzag pattern. Once installed, you can use them to maintain a consistent temperature across your entire roof. It is a relatively simple setup that you can set and forget for quite a while. It will come in very handy in the winter, but you should be looking to set it up well in advance to avoid any mishaps. If ice has already accumulated on your roof, you can opt for de-icing cables that are set up above the roof to thaw any ice that has formed.

Ensure Good Attic Ventilation

Your attic’s temperature not being regulated is a common cause for the temperature discrepancies on your roof that might lead to the formation of ice dams and subsequent leaks. How to prevent ice dams in such a situation? Experts agree that maintaining healthy natural ventilation in your attic can ensure it never heats up so much that the snow above it begins to melt. It will be a permanent solution since it solves a structural defect and removes the root cause for the eventual formation of dams.

Set up Insulation

Another common cause for ice dams is poor insulation or no insulation at all towards the ends of your roof. Pockets of cold air rest in these spaces, which cause the melting snow to re-freeze and form the blocks that are commonly called dams. You can get your roof inspected by an expert team to determine if this is a necessary fix or whether the issue lies elsewhere, like your ventilation solution. Insulation can be set up over a short while and will be a long-term solution.


Ice dam issues could undoubtedly, wreak havoc on your roof. You must prevent ice issues proactively. Follow the above-discussed ice dam preventive tips to ensure that your roof is in pristine condition even during the cold winter days.


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