One of the most common problems a Minneapolis gutter and roofing company comes across every winter is an ice dam.

This home has a severe ice dam problem This home has a severe ice dam problem

We see ice dams on many homes as we travel around the Twin Cities, especially on older homes. The telltale sign is those long rows of icicles dangling from roof edges.

While those icicles might look nice on a calendar or card, on a home they indicate an ice dam - that can lead to rotted out roof structures and reduced insulation as well as interior damage from roof leaks.

So, what are they, and what can you do to prevent them? What Are Ice Dams? Temperatures naturally rise and fall throughout the year. Usually this spells out pretty days and stormy days, but this cycle can cause problems in the winter.

When our cold season arrives, if snow and ice build up on a roof, sunshine and warmth cause melting.  The ice and snow that thawed during the day freezes at night before it can drain away and develops into a ridge of ice at the roof's edge, usually due to blocked.  The melted water on the roof has nowhere to go but under the roofing into the house. This slow leak can then cause all sorts of water damage related problems.

How Can Ice Dams Be Prevented? First you should know that blocked gutters aren't the cause of ice dams; they just make things worse.  The real cause is lack of ventilation in the attic.

The best way to stop ice dams from forming in the first place is to make sure your attic is insulated well. R-values should fall within the R-49 to R-60 range. This translates into having a minimum of 14” fiberglass batts, open-cell spray or cellulose for ceilings. If blown-in fiberglass is used, there should be 20” to reach the minimum R-value. It should also completely cover the top plates of exterior walls.

In addition to ensuring proper insulation, these five things will go a long way to prevent ice-dam related damage from happening.

• Seal air leaks by insulating ductwork • Make sure all ventilation is appropriate for the house • Keep your attic hatch capped or sealed • Make sure your exhaust vents don’t travel through roof soffits as they vent air outside • If you have recessed lights, replace them with sealed can lights to minimize referred heat to the roof

If you think you have roof dams, give us a call. We’re a licensed MN ice dam removal company here to help you solve and prevent roof damage.  In addition to professional ice dam removal, we've also got some solutions to keep them from developing in the future, and we offer roof repair if ice dams have caused problems at your house.