back to blog

How To Stop Ice Dams From Forming on Your Roof

Ice dam and icicles on the edge of a snow-covered roof of a brown home.

If you live in Maryland, you know there’s one challenge homeowners have to deal with every winter: Ice dams.

At Alternative Roofing, we’ve seen the damage winter storms and ice dams can cause to your home, so we’re providing the information you need to prevent ice dams from forming and remove them when necessary.

Schedule Your Estimate Today!

What Causes Ice Dams To Form on Roofs?

An ice dam is a ring of ice that forms around the edges of your roof. They form as a result of a heavy snowpack that starts to melt from the heated air inside your home but re-freezes as it reaches the roof’s edges. An ice dam stops water from flowing off your roof, potentially causing leaks or other water damage.

How To Remove Ice Dams on Your Roof & Eaves

Rake removing snow from roof

Once your roof has already formed ice dams, there are a few options, including:

  • Blowing cold air at the underside of the roof in the attic to stop meltwater
  • Using a roof rake to manually pull off smaller dams
  • Melting the ice by hosing it off
  • Calcium chlorate inside a nylon stocking, placed vertically at intervals across the roof to create a temporary solution

Avoid getting on the roof to shovel; this is dangerous. Also, avoid throwing salt on the roof to melt the ice. It doesn’t work well and can hurt plant growth.

How To Prevent Ice Dams

Prevention is certainly the best option when it comes to ice dams. Here are the top five things you can do to prevent ice dams.

  • Remove snow: During breaks between snowfalls, remove the snow from the roof. A roof rake is ideal for this, but a long-handled broom can do the job in a pinch.
  • Install heat cables: A professional can install heated cables to supply warmth at the roof edge where dams would normally form after the snow melts and re-freezes.
  • Ensure proper insulation: The root cause of ice dams is insulation that loses heat rapidly through the roof. Better insulation means less heat loss.
  • Ensure proper ventilation: Proper ventilation ensures that any escaped heat disperses before it can warm up the rooftop.
  • Keep gutters clear: Dirt and debris in gutters hamper water runoff, giving melted snow an extra chance to re-freeze — a good reason to stay current on gutter cleanings.
Schedule Your Estimate Today!

What To Do if You Have Roof or Gutter Damage From Ice Dams

Ice dams can result in some serious damage to your roof and gutters. From minor leaks and water damage to cracks, rusting, mold, or even a saggy roof, it’s important to have a professional roofing and exterior company like Alternative Roofing survey the damage as soon as possible.

The sooner you call us, the sooner you can stop ice dam damage from affecting your Maryland home’s integrity.

Call Alternative Roofing at (410) 489-9000 to schedule quality roof and gutter services today.  

Contact Us

Request Service

treat image treat image mobile

The Alternative Roofing Difference

What Sets Us Apart

  • We'll never take a hard-sell approach.
  • Our team has extensive expertise in the top roofing products.
  • We are committed to producing high-quality work and outstanding customer service.
  • Our supervisors will be on-site through the duration of your project.
  • We're always available to answer your questions or provide a project report.