Preventing Ice Dams

Preventing Ice Dams and Staying Safe This Winter

The icicles hanging along the roof of your home may look picturesque but they spell trouble. This is because the climatic conditions that form icicles also lead to ice dams. Preventing these can be a big task during the harsh winters as they block eavestroughs all over Edmonton. Rooftop ice can cause harm to shingles and eavestrough systems, resulting in water leaks to your Edmonton property.

It is considered by many that eavestroughs are the reason behind ice dam formation! This may be because they get covered in mounds of ice during winters. Threatening amounts of ice will still gather if your roof is not properly installed. Your eavestrough system and even your home will be in store for some serious damage. 


At All-Side Contracting, we understand this phenomenon. We are experienced in taking care of all exterior renovation needs, including fixing eavestroughs in Edmonton homes.


How Do Ice Dams Form?


Ice dams are a common sight for people who live in cold climates. Most often we enjoy the sparkling beauty of ice formed along the roofs without stopping to understand why, until our homes are damaged.

These are ridges of ice formed by the reaction between snow covers, outside temperatures, and heat loss through the poorly insulated sealing of a house. As the snow on the upper part of the roof melts, the water runs down the roof slope and refreezes at the roof’s edge, making a “dam”. The additional snow-melt water eventually leaks into the building through the roof.


The results aren’t pretty when this happens. You will see:


  • Warped floors
  • Damaged walls
  • Peeling paint
  • Sagging and stained ceilings
Water leaking into residential properties is a costly problem. Aviva Canada found that the Canadian homeowner, on an average, claimed $16,070 for water damage in 2014. Also, this has gone up in recent years.



Preventive Measures Against Ice Dams


Stopping ice dams is as simple as solving the other common eavestrough problems in Edmonton homes such as blocked troughs, holes in gutters etc. Here’s how:

  • Insulate the attic floor. Proper insulation keeps warm air in your living space and out of the attic. But, this does not mean piling on more insulation. Focus on realigning improperly installed insulation, plugging gaps, and cutting the trickle of warm air from conduits, among others. 
  • Installing ventilation. You can install ventilation systems to cool your attic. There are many options including attic ventilator fans, soffit vents, and turbine ventilators.
  • Install metal roofing. It’s true, ice formations occur on metal roofs, but the design of the roof will prevent the melting water from leaking. Ice and snow are more likely to slide off from metal surfaces than asphalt shingles.

Secondary Strategies for Avoiding Ice Dams

Here are some other ways you can avoid getting ice dams:


  • Clean your gutters. Clogged gutters can block melting snow and ice from leaving the roof, increasing the chances of ice dams. Make sure your downspouts are operating properly.
  • Use a roof rake. A roof rake is all you need to remove the snow from your roof before it melts and refreezes. They work best when removing fresh snow.
  • Installing heat cables. Electric heat cables can be installed along the edge of your roof to melt the snow before ice dams are formed.
  • Ice melting products or calcium chloride. You can always rely on calcium chloride or similar products to control ice dams. These form liquid brine by attracting moisture and generate heat that melts ice. Once the brine is spread out, it can loosen the ice from the roof. Do not forget to wear gloves as ice melts are an irritant.
  • Deal with your trees. The trees that hang over your roof can create shady spots where ice dams can form. The shaded parts are maybe 5 to 15-degrees cooler compared to the rest of the roof. This could be an issue as the melted snow would refreeze upon reaching a cold spot.


Call the Professionals If You Already Have Ice Dams


If you have ice dams, don’t attempt getting rid of them yourself. Instead, hire a company like All-Side Contracting to come remove them safely without damaging your roof or eavestrough in Edmonton.

Call us today to learn more on preventing ice dams.

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