Ice dams are ice ridges that form at the edge of the roof and keep melting snow from properly draining off your roof.
Ice dams should be spotted quickly and removed so damage to your roof doesn’t occur. As your roof snow melts and refreezes, water gets trapped beneath your roof shingles which can cause your roof to leak.
Ice dams cause your shingles to lift and water to leak in. They can push your gutters off, which can cause damage to both your roof and gutters.
If you have a low-pitch or flat roof, it’s more likely for this to be a problem.
While ice dams commonly occur because of thawing and freezing cycles, they can also happen because of inadequate ventilation, insulation, and/or temperature control. Ice dams can also happen if your gutters were not properly cleaned out during the fall (which can cause leaking and gutter damage as well).
Removing Ice Dams
- Hire A Pro: Ice dams might look easy to fix, but handling your roof in the snow and ice can be dangerous. Use the home professional finder below for free quotes and expert advice.
But If You’re Doing DIY:
- Remove Snow: Make sure you have the correct tools for the job. You’ll want a roof rake to get the snow off your roof before you attempt this job. Keep from damaging your shingles by making sure to never pull the snow across the roof. Do NOT walk on a snow-covered roof. Use ladders and a steady “spotter” to do the job.
- Chip Ice Away: Chipping away the ice will help break the dam so water can go through. Just be sure not to chip the roofing. Do NOT use salt/calcium chloride to melt your roof snow. These can corrode your roof and can cause damage to plants when it runs off your roof.
- Proper Ventilation And Insulation: Very warm attics can cause many issues with ice dams and leaking. Prevent this with proper ventilation and insulation. Just do not set up mechanics such as fans or water heaters in your attic as it is a fire hazard.
Cost Of Removing Ice Dams
Generally, if you’re DIYing, $60-200 will cover the cost of a roof rake (which kind you use will depend on the home you have). Buy one that has bumpers or wheels by the blade so you don’t scrape your roof. You want the granules intact because they protect your home from UV rays and keep it fire resistant.
Make sure you don’t damage your roof or yourself during the process or that cost will get quite a bit bigger.
You may also want to consider heating cables. Heating cables can prevent ice buildup. Heated gutters can also keep the ice and snow moving away from your home and prevent damage caused by huge icicles. They should be installed by an electrician to make sure everything is up to code and safe. A heated cable runs around $20/1ft. when installed by a professional.
To hire a pro to remove ice dams, you can expect to pay around $200 an hour. So, in general, it’s better to make investments such as good insulation and heated gutters as it can save you more money down the road.
Hiring A Pro
Removing snow and ice from your roof should be left to a professional as it is quite dangerous.
When you hire someone, make sure they have the experience, good reviews, and actual licenses and proof of insurance (you can ask to see them).
Ask them about their experience with moving snow and ice dams, the equipment they use, how they protect your roof, etc.
In states with heavy snowfall, there are some contractors that specialize in just removing ice dams and snow. Otherwise, you’ll probably be talking to roofing and gutter contractors.
Use Home Professionals free quote and expert finder below to get connected to the right contractor for you today. We can connect you to the best local deals and pros in your area.