How to Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams in winters are a consequence of poor roof ventilation and warm attic space. In winters, the melting snow runs down the roof and freezes at the edge of the roof, forming ice dams. If you live in a region where there is heavy rainfall in winters or throughout the year, you might be looking for how to prevent ice dams.

Ice dams can be a reason of serious damage to your house. They can damage the roof, paints on the walls, drywall and the structure of your house. To prevent ice dams you need to construct your house with proper technique and maintain your attic in a good condition throughout the year.

Tips to prevent ice dams:

  • Ice dams form when the temperature underside of the roof is higher than the temperature of the roof in the exterior side. The most easy and cost effective method to prevent ice dams, is to maintain the temperatures on either sides of the roof nearly equal.
  • Some of the sources of heat that should be removed from the attic space are heating ducts, furnace, water heating equipment, etc.
  • Remove any sources of heat away from your attic, and proper ventilation in the attic is the most important part in preventing ice dams.
  • If there are any holes in the attic, seal them, because warm air can pass through these holes and freeze the water flowing on the roof. This also increases the chance of ice dams.
  • Insulate the roofs properly from underneath. There should be at least 2 inch of space left between the insulation and the sheathing such that the roof does not become warm easily. Poor insulation can aggravate the problems.

Roofing methods to prevent ice dams:

Ice belts:

  • This is the most effective method that is used to prevent ice dams. These ice belts are flat aluminum coils.
  • Ice belts are installed along the edge of the roof and overlapped with the shingles of the roof.
  • Aluminum acts as an insulator, prevents the ice from freezing at the edges, and provides a smooth surface for the formed ice to slide down the roof.
  • This method is easy, so shield your roof edges with these ice belts before the winter arrives.

Metal roofs:

  • You can also shield the entire roof with a metal shield. These are ice belts that are overlapped with the entire roof.
  • They are the best choice for your roofs. They shield the roof as well as prevent the roof from leaking.
  • They are designed in such a manner that they last longer and have no gaps in between the metal plates (interlocked design) such that it gives complete protection against leakage.
  • The slippery texture of the metal will slide the ice down the roof as well.

Single-ply flat roofing:

  • Single ply fat roofing membranes are also an effective way of preventing ice dams. These are an inexpensive way of protecting your roof. Metal roofs are the best, but they are quiet expensive.
  • These are mainly designed for flat roofing membranes, but you can use them on the sliding roof as well.

The tips suggested above will help you in preventing ice dams as well as prevent leaks from the attic when ice dams occur.


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