Ice Dam Removal What You Need To Know — Verrone Roofing

Ice Dam Removal What You Need To Know - Verrone Roofing

Ice Dam Removal

First, before any ice dam removal. it is important to determine if you have a true ice dam problem. There are generally three results of an ice dam which you can encounter which determine this.

The TV, Radio, Internet, Newspapers, and media in general like to tell us that when there is an abundance of snow that we should clear our roofs of snow. I vehemently disagree, unless there is a leak or certain symptoms are first evident.

Ice dam removal is dangerous, for those doing it and also to the roof. Roofing when under snow or ice is very brittle, there is a very high propensity of roof damage, splitting and breaking of roof shingles or slate, when the snow and ice is removed. Therefore, it should only be done as necessary.

Be aware that this is a very big business for landscapers, tree companies, contractors of all types, and roofers in the winter time when times are slow and they need to make money. They anxiously await the calls from homeowners under duress, or I should say homeowners who think they are under duress. Done properly Ice dam removal cost isnt cheap so be weary.

Additionally, when the roof shingles or slates are damaged as a result of the snow and ice removal process there is now ROOF REPLACEMENT necessary which will occur in the spring which they will be quick to accommodate.

In years which have chronic ice dams, contractors of all types make money during the emergency work and all throughout the year replacing the damaged roofs which they were happy to create.

Ice dam removal should only be done on roofs which suffer from ice damming. How to determine if ice damming is occurring, here are the signs:

1- LEAK: This is simply water leaking into your home. Generally visible in the ceiling, walls, tops of window trim, tops of bay windows.

2- ICICLES.  existing seams-joints in siding. This will occur often with no visible leaks on the inside of the home.

3- SOFFIT DRIPPING OR ICICLES: exterior soffit dripping out water or icicles hanging from them. This will occur often with no visible leaks on the inside of the home.

What To Do Inside The Home Immediately When Leak Occurs From Ice Dam

1- If leak is in ceiling or wall, poke a hole in the center of where water is exiting in the ceiling with a screw driver, ice pick, awl, or the like, relieving the pressure. This is to centralize the water to exit so that it does not spread in the ceiling causing more damage laterally. Hole size: ⅛” to ⅜”  diameter approximately.

2- Place a towel (folded in twodouble layer) directly below leak. In case there is splashing into bucket.

3- Place a bucket directly below leak on towel. The larger the bucket the better. Empty bucket as necessary as it fills.

4- Attach plastic with thumbnails, or tape (black gorilla tape is best), or both to directly below dripping water, in a funnel form to bucket. Tape plastic funnel to top edge of bucket. Plastic should be taught so that there is no buildup and water in plastic and it flows quickly to bucket.

How To Perform Ice Dam Removal

Ice Dam Removal What You Need To Know - Verrone Roofing

Have a reputable roofing professional remove snow along roof edge. Do so, a minimum of 8 feet  to either side of above where leak is (when you are facing the home and leak from the outside) and from the gutter or roof edge up the roof, 3-5 feet above bearing wall height. This can be done by you, but a roof professional is highly recommended, not a landscaper, snow plower, tree company, handyman, general contractor. A roof professional who is versed in chronic ice dams and the proper remediation of ice dams, remediation which does not involve roof damage.

Chopping of ice should be avoided at all costs.  Simply remove the snow delicately with a snow rake, shovel, or broom (broom being safest but most work). The solid ice dam removal can be done using salt or snow melt once the crux of the problem, be it the snow has been removed.

Salt can be sprinkled over ice dam, both at roof edge and gutter, or be placed in stockings and laid vertically from gutter up roof. If laid vertically in the direction in which water runs, the vertical salt sausage (a stocking or panthose filled with salt) will create immediate melt and relief for the buildup of ponding water on the roof inside of the ice dam. Note, most ice dam leaks will stop once the top layer of snow is removed with no ice removal done. The melting of the ice is simply an accelerator and in many cases not necessary, but recommended if you have the resources.

To learn more about why and how ice dams occur and how to remedy the route cause  of the problem with a long term solution, this video comprehensively covers it all:

The best proactive defense against an ice dam occurring once the insulation deficiency inside the home has been rectified is the the installation of a cold roof system. Check out this slide show of the Verrone Cold Roof System

Or check out this video on the Verrone Cold Roof System here

If you do not have any of the symptoms listed above, you do not need ice dam removal.

Regarding the media and their well intended ideas behind being preventative and perhaps in some cases the not so well intended contractor telling you that you must be proactive by removing snow from your roof… I like to follow Mark Twain’s advice: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”.


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