Quarve Contracting
Wednesday 1 February 2012

Ask the Minneapolis Area Roofing Pros: What Is An Ice Dam?

Posted by at 10:50 PM

A new homeowner in Minneapolis asks:
I recently moved to Minnesota from the South, and with winter beginning I'm hearing from my neighbors that I need to watch out for ice dams on my roof.   Why is this a problem?
Welcome to Minnesota's winter wonderland, where our sometimes harsh weather can wreak havoc on roofs.  Ice dams are a prevalent problem in this climate.  You're wise to find out about ice dams now before the cold really sets in.   Many Twin Cities area home owners are aware of (or have experienced) ice dams, but not everyone understands what causes them and their potential problems.    As the leading Minneapolis area roofing company, Quarve Contracting wants you to know the basics about ice dams. 
  • What is an ice dam?  An ice dam is a block of ice or a row of icicles that forms by melting snow re-freezing at the roof's edge.  The ridge formed traps more melting snow, which re-freezes and builds up the dam.  It can also spread under shingles or shakes.   Ice dams can also form when the bottom layer of snow melts and is trapped under a blanket of snow.  As it moves down to the edge of the roof, it refreezes, 
  • What causes ice dams?  There are a variety of causes; the most frequent are poor attic insulation  and/or a lack of air circulation underneath the roof edge, but a leaky or damaged roof can also cause an ice dam. 
  • Can ice dams cause damage to my roof, or worse?  Yes.  Since the melting snow can't drain off the roof, it may back up under your roofing material.  This can cause a variety of problems, including wet insulation, mold, and leaky ceilings.  Left untended, major structural damage can result. 
  • If I get an ice dam, can I remove it myself?  If you have an ice dam build-up on your roof, it's best left to professional ice dam removal company like Quarve to remove.  You can, however, knock away icicles on the roof's edge to keep more melting snow from freezing.  Never use a chipper on your roof; you could damage the roofing. 
  • How can I prevent ice dams from forming on my roof?  The solution depends on the cause.  If ice dams are a problem for your roof, contact an ice dam expert.  
Ice dams are a serious matter, and can result in expensive winter roofing repairs, or worse.  If you have ice dams or believe they have already caused damage to your roof, contact the roofing professionals at Quarve Contracting today.  For nearly three decades we've been helping Minneapolis area home owners protect their homes with quality roofing installation and repair.   We can help you with professional ice dam removal and prevention.