lots of snow built up on a the roof of a brown wooden house

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against Minnesota’s harsh winter elements, so it’s important to keep a watchful eye on it. With the large snowfalls, ice dams can be sneaky to spot, so knowing what they are, the damages they cause, and what it takes to remove them is important for any homeowner to understand. 

What Exactly is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams are a blockage of ice that forms on the edge of your roof. This blockage of ice creates a dam that prevents ice and snowmelt from properly flowing through your gutters and out your downspouts. Once this blockage starts, the dam will continue to grow as more melted snow works its way down your roof and is blocked by the dam. 

Eventually, the blockage that forms can be so big that water can become trapped inside the dam. Rather than freezing, this water sits and finds cracks within your roof and flows right into your home. It’s very important to take care of an ice dam right away so no damage comes to your roof’s gutters, shingles, or the interior of your home.

Ice Dams can form in Minnesota because of the variations in the temperature of your roof. The ice dam can start when your indoor heating rises through the ceiling of your attic and warms the surface of your roof. Snow will then melt and slide down your roof to the ends where it is less warm and then refreeze, causing an ice dam. 

Damages of Ice Dams

Many issues can come from the formation of ice dams on your roof if you do not take the proper precautions to prevent or remove them. 

  • An ice dams weight alone can team down gutters, shingles, and downspouts
  • The snow that gets backed up behind the dam can melt and cause water leakage to your attic
  • The snow back-up can also cause leakage through your chimney, skylights, and any other exposing areas on your roof. 
  • With all the added moisture to your roof and water leakage possible, it can lead to mold and mildew being formed on the interior of your home, causing health issues for you and your family and severely damaging your home. 
  • If there is no removal of the ice and snow build up at all, it can eventually lead to a complete roof collapse. 

Prevention and Removal of Ice Dams

Initially, preventing ice dams from forming on your roof will save you lots of time and money once the winter is over. Ice dams usually form from improper ventilation and insulation, so checking with a professional on the state of your home’s insulation is important.  

If you remove ice dams yourself, remember to be cautious of your surroundings and practice safety when doing it. Remember that using snow rakes and shovels can potentially cause more damage to your roof and, ultimately, isn’t the best idea. It’s also extremely dangerous to walk on your roof during the winter because of the snow and ice. The best possible solution to check the damage of an ice dam is to call your roofing professionals. All Craftsmen Exteriors can look at your roof and assess the damage with a free estimate. Call today, (952) 898-4680!