Ice Dams Begone: Foolproof Methods to Get Rid of Ice Dams

Winter. The coldest and snowiest season each year. For many homeowners, winter gives them the shivers, and not just because of the cold. When snow and ice accumulate on a roof, the risk of ice dams forming increases exponentially. Many homeowners reasonably rely on “creative” solutions in the hopes of getting rid of ice dams. Others pursue allegedly “tried and true” methods to eradicate ice dams once and for all. But do these do-it-yourself approaches to ice dam removal actually work? Or will they simply cause more harm than good?

Often, homeowners fail to account for the damage these quick-fix solutions cause to the roof, especially shingles. Taking a self-help approach to get rid of ice dams might save you money in the short term. However, in the long run, you are likely creating significant damage to your roof and not even realizing it. Although do-it-yourself ice dam removal solutions offer marginal value, the risk of an adverse outcome more than offsets the potential benefit. Involving a trained professional is the better option for a homeowner.


Ah, yes. Do-It-Yourself. The American Way. When homeowners want to “save a few bucks,” they look for the cheapest alternative to hiring a professional. In some cases, this avenue works. In many others, unfortunately, it does not. Here are common DIY methods homeowners employ to remove ice dams:

The magic of chemistry. Nothing says “quick fix” quite like the composition of powerful, corrosive, and potentially harmful chemicals. Hey, what could go wrong?

Nothing beats scaling a ladder and crawling up on a slippery roof in winter and taking a hammer, axe, chisel, or pick to the ice dam. Seems safe enough, right?

This approach might not necessitate climbing a ladder. But extracting hundreds of pounds of snow and ice while standing straight below might not be the safest solution.

Hot water melts ice, right? But then hot water cools off real quickly in freezing temperatures. Once it hardens, it turns into ice. Has anything been truly resolved?

Old wives’ tales have some basis in truth, right? Grabbing a bunch of pantyhose, filling them with salt, and tossing them on the roof surely won’t raise any eyebrows.

The Harms Caused By Removing Ice Dams Yourself

Your safety and well-being. Your roof’s performance. Your sanity. DIY methods jeopardize you and your home…and may not solve your problems. Why repeatedly take temporary stopgap measures when permanent solutions exist? It borders on insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Long-Term Solutions For Preventing Ice Dam Formation

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Did Benjamin Franklin actually come up with this quote? It doesn’t really matter. Taking precautions to avoid potential problems is much wiser than dealing with actual problems later. Any reputable roofing professional will tell you that avoiding ice dams altogether makes life much easier for the homeowner to address than removing an existing ice dam or dealing with the adverse consequences of an unmitigated ice dam.

To ward off ice dams, consider the following proactive measures that knowledgeable and experienced roofing professionals recommend:

Adequate ventilation enables a home to breathe correctly. Consequently, air circulates to keep the roof surface at or below freezing. Snow does not prematurely melt and will not flow downward in liquid form to the eaves to re-form and dam into ice.

A trained roofing professional can analyze the current roof’s condition to determine if it is causing ice dams. Potential solutions? Replace the roof, strategically install flashing, increase insulation, seal air leaks, add vents, and integrate ice-melting panels.

Heated living spaces in the attic. Light fixtures near the roof. HVAC ductwork in the attic or crawlspace. All of these features contribute to heating the roof surface. Blocking them from heating the roof surface prevents snowmelt (and ice dams).

Sufficient insulation in the attic and ceiling areas stops heat from rising to the roof deck to melt snow prematurely. As a result, ice dams have a much more difficult time forming at the roof’s edge because snow does not melt and re-form as ice.

Hiring An Expert Roofing Company To Evaluate Solutions

If you own a home in Grand Rapids, MI, you are well aware of winter weather conditions. You know all about snow and ice. In fact, you deal with it for months, hoping that winter will not stick around throughout March…and well into April. Accumulating snow can cause significant stress on your roof (and keep you up at night). That’s why you need a reputable roofing professional in your corner.
At Moore and Sons Roofing, we know how to address ice dams. Better, we understand the top ways to avoid ice dams. Not having to worry about ice dams forming in the winter relieves a lot of pressure on homeowners. We have the solutions. No matter what roofing problems you encounter, our expertise ensures you don’t have to worry about anything. Contact us today to schedule a free appointment.

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