Icicles on the roof of a home are quite common throughout the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. When the cold and winter months come rolling through, they usually end up hanging off the roof. Not only is this a sign of trouble, but it is also a very dangerous element to have hanging off the sides of your home. So now that spring is here, why are we talking about icicles?  Because now is the best time to do something about the cause and prevent them from coming back next winter. The first thing is to understand why these icicles form in the first place.

This home has a severe ice dam problem

What Causes Icicles at the Edge of a Roof?

Snow accumulates on a roof, and if the roof is warm underneath it, that snow will melt.  The melting snow then trickles down the roof and onto the eaves where it's colder.  It then freezes and creates icicles. They’re pretty and they shine in the sun, but they can cause blockages in the spouts, gutters and eaves of the home. Eventually something called an ice dam forms.

An ice dam is a large ridge of ice at the roof edge.  And not only have icicles formed, that ice dam will trap additional snow melt, either increasing the size of the ice dam or forcing that melted water underneath the roof.  When these ice dams and icicles melt, this quickly gives way to large amounts of pooling water. If it has nowhere to go, it is going to melt into the attic, the ceilings and sides of the home.

This means having to rip out and replace the walls, the insulation and even structural lumber.  Even worse, mold can happen when there is moisture, causing a health hazard.

What Do You Do About the Ice Dam?

If you notice one has formed on your home, never chip or break away the dam; this can cause further damage to the shingles and parts of the roof. You can, however, remove the icicles that are hanging from the side of the home. This helps to lighten the weight on the side of the roof, while also reducing the risks of having them fall on someone.

Preventing the dams and icicles from happening in the first place is the best line of defense you have against them. Clearing off the roof tops, keeping the attic space ventilated and making sure that all gutters are cleaned can help you overcome a bad situation in the long run. Keeping the attic area cooler throughout the winter months means the area underneath the roof will be cold, and that cuts down on the potential for snow to melt.

One of the best things you can do to prevent ice dams from forming?  Have a metal roof installed.  Snow doesn't generally accumulate on a metal roof; instead, it slides right off.  

If you’re suffering from ice dams, or have damage to the roof of your home due to them; speak with us here at Quarve. We are a Minnesota licensed exterior remodeling company serving the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, and we have a number of things we can suggest to eliminate the ice dam problem at your house.