The weather in Minneapolis has had its ups and downs this winter.  The heavy snows and deep freeze have been followed by warmer weather when all that white stuff starts to melt.  When it comes to having everything freeze and the next day it thaws out, there is a lot going on to your roof when this happens. And you shouldn't ignore what Mother Nature is doing over your head.

However, you might not know what to do.  Melting snow on your roof freezes and turns to ice, then it melts and freezes again.  This cycle can cause a lot of damage, and one of the biggest things you can do is be prepared for this.  Unless you're experienced, attempts to remove this ice can cause damage to the roof, which can result in even more problems than before.

There are questions to ask yourself before the ice builds up on the roof and to ensure that you're prepared to deal with it.

  • Is it fine to just leave it alone?
  • Is the ice that is building up dangerous to the structure or to people?
  • Do I need professional help with removing it, or can I safely do it myself?
Rarely is it fine to leave it alone, because ice on a roof is an indication of an underlying problem.  But as a homeowner, usually, the less you do, the better since removing ice on a roof in the middle of a Minnesota winter can be dangerous. Our best advice?  Only observe conditions, and then react by getting a hold of a professional that knows the best and safest way to remove ice dams on Minneapolis roofs.  If you've done an internet search on how to remove ice dams, you've probably seen lots of suggestions.  But we don't recommend them.  Why?  Not only is the roof susceptible to damage, but the person doing the work is also in danger. Working on a roof in dry, warm weather can be hazardous; in cold and icy conditions, the safety issues are substantial.  That's why we suggest professional ice dam removal.

However, understanding more about the ice on the roof is important for homeowners to understand. Depending on the type of roof you have, you should consider some of these things if you notice ice on your roof or at the roof edges.

Common Ice Dams

Ice can form on both sloped roofs and flat roofs just the same. When the heat from the home warms up the attic space, the ice and snow on the top section of the roof then melts away and can freeze again halfway down, especially when it meets already frozen snow or ice at the roof edge or gutters. This freeze-and-thaw cycle can be a never-ending process without the right preparation and care. The melting and re-freezing ice can then get under the shingles and pull them away from the roof. By reducing the temperature in the attic, you can interrupt this cycle.  There are a number of ways to do this, including adequate insulation throughout the attic, ventilation, and use of de-icers or heating cables to prevent damage to the roof.  A word of caution on heating cables, however; it's a good idea to check with a roofing contractor before you use them - improper installation or use could cause roof damage.

Signs of Stress on the Roof

When the water shows up on the ceiling inside the home, this can be a cause of concern. Melting snow and ice on the roof need a place to go, and keeping your gutters open is important.  By being able to have clear drainage paths, you're able to minimize the leaks that can happen inside the home. If water is allowed to seep under the roofing, structural problems can occur. You might see cracks up and down the walls or jammed doors in the house. These are all signs of stress on the house. If you notice any of these signs of stress, seek immediate attention from a professional building contractor.  It's imp0rtant to get the roof repaired as well as any structural stress taken care of right away to prevent further problems.

Watch for Part 2 of this post on removing ice from your roof during the cold Minnesota winter.   If you've got ice over your head, Call Quarve Contracting; we are experienced professionals when it comes to ice dam removal and roof problems in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area.  763.785.1472.