Ice Dams

Ventilation and Insulation Contractors – Minnesota

While no one can guarantee that you will not have ice dam build up due to Minnesota’s unpredictable winter weather, there are steps that can be taken to control the amount and severity of ice dams you may have.

Ice dams are generally more prevalent on older homes. They are commonly seen as ice build up on roof eves and icicles. Ice dams can cause both interior and exterior damage to your home, including the growth of mold and mildew in attics and on walls.

At Lewis Insulation, we can help you assess the causes of your ice dams and help provide you with a solution.

What is an ice dam?

An ice dam is exactly as the name implies: a barrier of frozen water that forms where your home’s eaves and gutters meet. Ice dams keep water from flowing freely off your roof, forcing the water to pool and back up under the shingles.

What causes ice dams?

Many factors contribute to the buildup of ice dams. The main culprits are poor insulation and poor ventilation.

The snow on a roof surface that is above 32˚F will melt. As water flows down the roof, it reaches the portion of the roof that is 32˚F or lower and freezes – causing an ice dam.  The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but will limit itself to the portions of the roof that are on the average below 32˚F. The water above backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid. The water can then find cracks & openings in the exterior roof covering and flow into the attic space. From the attic it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation & stain the ceiling finish.

Preventing and Dealing with Ice Dams

Immediate action

Removing snow from the roof can eliminate one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. If you are able, a “roof rake” can be used to remove snow, but be careful not to damage the roofing materials.

If you are not able to remove the snow yourself from the roof, contact a professional to take care of the snow removal.

Long-term ice dam action

The long-term solution to ice dams is to air seal your attic. Make the ceiling of your home air tight so warm, moist air cannot flow from the house into the attic space.

After sealing air leakage paths between the house and attic space and making sure the attic has proper ventilation, increase the ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction. It’s important to note that all of these actions will increase the snow load your roof has to carry because it will no longer melt.

Contact us for Ice Dam Solutions in Minnesota

Contact our team of technicians to learn how to prevent ice dams from forming on your home’s roof. Call us today at 763-477-2612 or contact us to schedule an appointment.