How To Prevent Ice Dams Before It’s Too Late

Icicles can be nature’s finishing touches to our home’s holiday decorations.

But extremely large icicles may be a sign that behind the beautiful frozen decor there is water damage and decay building up. Knowing how to prevent ice dams before it’s too late is essential to maintain the integrity and temperature of your home during the coldest months.

An ice dam forms when warm air in your attic causes snow to melt on the roof and refreeze near the edge. This new mound of ice traps meltwater which can then seep under shingles and into your home causing rot, mold, stained ceilings and peeling paint. Let’s talk about how to reduce the risk of this damage.

Preventative Maintenance

A roof clear of debris and efficient gutter system are very important in the prevention of ice dams. A clogged downspout or downed branch will accelerate the accumulation of snow and ice in spots it shouldn’t. Many homeowners use a roof rake after a heavy snow fall, or install heat cables as preventive measures.

Sealing Gaps

On average, over 30% of heat loss occurs from your ceiling into the attic. This is most often caused by unblocked walls, gaps for air to escape around pipes, fixtures, drywall, or the chimney. Pulling back the insulation in your attic to reveal problem areas and sealing with foam or caulk is the most effective method of sealing the gaps.

Proper Insulation

The key to keeping heat in and snow melting evenly on your roof is the right amount of quality insulation. If your home has less than 10” of insulation you are likely not meeting the recommended level for most attics. Homes built prior to 1979 had little to no insulation, resulting in the worst cases of ice damming. We’ve come a long way since just a decade ago with superior quality products such as Owens Corning PINK FIBERGLAS Insulation.

Better Ventilation

Flushing out warm attic air and drawing in the cold reduces moisture, saves energy, prevent damage to shingles, and you guessed it- helps prevent ice damming. Adding roof and soffit vents in strategic locations to master air flow are the best solution.


If leaks inside the home or ice damming persist, an ice-and-water barrier when re-roofing may be your last resort. Contact us for a free roof inspection and insulation check to avoid ever needing that last resort!