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How to Prevent Ice Dams

Mean on roof clearing ice dam

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – but please, don’t let an ice dam develop! While we can certainly appreciate a bit of wintry fun, ice dams (the ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent proper water drainage) are nothing to joke about. Left untreated, ice dams can cause water to leak into your home, damaging surfaces and leading to harmful mold and mildew growth. As we ease into another winter, now is the best time to find out how to prevent ice dams.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

What Causes Ice Dams?

There are several factors that result in ice dams. First, outside temperatures must be below freezing. Second, there must be a heat source – like a warm attic – warming the roof, keeping the roof warmer than outside temperatures. When this happens, snow and ice from the roof melt and then freeze as they hit the roof’s colder edge. This creates a rim of ice, trapping meltwater and forming an ice dam. In other words, a hot roof plus cold outdoor temperatures and precipitation equals an ice dam. And when ice dams prevent meltwater from draining off of your roof, disaster ensues.

Daily Ice Dam Prevention

There are a few steps you can take all winter long to prevent ice dams. First, make sure you remove snow from your roof on a regular basis. You can do this using a “roof rake” or push broom; however, these tools can damage your roof if you’re not careful. If you’re worried about damaging your roof, check in with your roofing professional about homeowner-friendly snow removal methods. You can also hose off existing ice dams on a warm day, which will create a channel so water can drain off the roof.

Ongoing Ice Dam Prevention

To completely prevent ice dams, you’ll need to make a few structural adjustments. Keep in mind that good attic ventilation usually goes a long way toward preventing ice dams. That involves circulating cool outside air within the attic space or rafter spaces, keeping the roof surface cold to prevent ice and snow melting. You can also lower roof deck temperatures by insulating your attic floor or insulating the ceiling in your living spaces immediately below the attic. Insulation helps keep heat in your living spaces, preventing it from rising to heat your roof. Insulation also keeps your home toasty warm while reducing your heating bills.


While ice dams are fairly easy to prevent, they can wreak havoc on your home if you’re not careful. So, how can you prevent ice dams from damaging your home? In the short term, make sure to regularly remove snow and ice from your roof. In the long term, focus on proper attic ventilation to keep your roof cold and home warm. With a bit of planning, you can keep your home cozy and warm all winter long without having to worry about hazardous ice dams.

Are you worried about ice dams this winter? If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help with your roofing needs. Our experts can help you explore new roofing options, maintain an older roof, perform emergency repairs, complete tear-offs and recovers, and perform remodeling services. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information regarding roofing options, ice dam prevention, and more, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

Fully licensed and insured, Taylor-Made Roofing is ready to take care of your roof.
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