After a winter storm, you may notice ice formations on your roof. They are usually found at the edge of the roof, on the gutters and downspouts. Icicles may seem like a pretty sight to look at, almost like a snapshot from a winter wonderland. Many people do not realize that these things should not be ignored. As a property owner, there is a need to be aware of how ice dams can damage your roof. This is also the reason why we think that it is important to equip yourself with basic information on how to de-ice your roof.
In today’s blog post, we will take you through the process of de-icing your roof. Because we care for your roof’s overall well-being, we want to involve you in this process. However, just a major disclaimer before we proceed, any form of a roofing job is a serious matter. It is not always as simple as it seems to be. The truth is that they are complicated. Handling roof repairs and maintenance require training, experience, and a specific skill set. Above anything else, it is risky and dangerous. So before you even think about of going up your roof, always consult a professional roofer for assistance.
Top 2 Common Causes of Ice Dams
Ice dams are formed when thick layers of ice build up along the eaves and gutters of the roof. These ice formations will then block the normal drainage system. This is where roofing issues may stem from.
To understand ice dams better, find out the most common causes of their build-up.
- Poor Attic Insulation – An attic with poor insulation allows heat to escape. The heat is responsible for melting the snow above the roof. When it melts, the water will run through the wall and along the usual exit points. However, when there’s not enough heat, the water will naturally refreeze especially during winter forming unwanted ice layers.
- Lack of Roof Ventilation – Roof ventilation is an important element that releases heat in the right places. However, if your roof has insufficient ventilation, it cannot air out excess heat. Again, the trapped heat will melt the snow. The melted snow could potentially block drainage system when it refreezes.
What Happens to Your Roof?
Melted snow can penetrate both the exterior and interior parts of the house. If a homeowner fails to address ice dams early on, these are the most common damages to expect:
- Water Stains
- Damaged Roof Shingles
- Serious Structural Damage
- Plant Growth (Molds, Fungi, etc.)
Steps on How to De-Ice Your Roof
Now, we are ready to go down to the details on how to de-ice your roof. Take note that the tips we enumerated below are short-term solutions. They can give temporary remedies to ice formations but will not permanently stop ice formations when another winter storm comes.
Remove Ice Dams Using Snow Rake
The first thing you can do as a homeowner is to visually inspect your roofing. See where the bulk of ice formations are. Check the gutters, edges, downspouts, etc. When you have identified specific areas where you can find ice dams, use a snow rake to remove them. Use it to scrape-off snow build-ups in a downward motion.
Safety reminder: When using a snow rake on your roof, do not stand on a ladder or on the roof surface. You may slip or fall if you do so. It is better to stand on the ground. Make sure that it is not slippery or wet. Aside from health hazards, it can also cause even more damage to your roof if not done correctly. Hence, it is advisable to seek assistance from trusted roofers for your own safety.
Chip Away Ice Dams Using Ice Pick
For this technique, you may climb up a ladder to access hard to reach areas where ice dams are present. Another safety reminder, make sure that the ladder rests against a sturdy wall away from obstructions. This is to avoid accidents and risks of falling.
Using an ice pick, reach into the inner parts of gutters and downspouts. Prick the ice dams with caution until they crack and chip away. Be careful with handling the ice pick as it may damage the roof itself or you may hurt yourself.
Apply Ice-Melting Products
You can check the nearest local hardware or home improvement stores for ice-melting products. They contain chemicals such as ammonium sulfate, calcium magnesium acetate, etc. that can effectively melt ice. They come in tablet or crystal form. Distribute the product evenly on to the affected areas.
Fan the Attic Area
This tip is for people experiencing leaks caused by ice dam build-ups. To melt the ice and let water flow directly on to the gutters, you can place a fan in the attic area. Before you turn it on, make sure that the air is directed to where ice dams are concentrated.
Use Warm Water
This is a simple but temporary DIY solution that you can do at home. You will need an empty spray bottle and warm water. Put the warm water inside the bottle and spray it on directly to the ice formations until it melts. The idea is to melt the ice dams so that the roof and gutters can drain them like before.
Safety reminder: Handle hot or warm water with care to avoid accidents.
As you may notice, all of these simple steps are pretty doable. Yes, you may perform them yourselves. However, always seek to prioritize your own safety and protection. Keep in mind that these are only short-term remedies. What your roof needs are long-term solutions that will keep it in a good condition regardless of the weather.
Do not never eliminate the fact that you need to have a licensed roofer inspect and maintain your roof. They will be able to provide proper assessments of what treatments should be done. Some experienced roofers use high-pressure steam to melt ice while others conduct specialized methods. Clearly, these should only be carried out by roofing contractors who have the proper training and tools.
In Need of a Roofing Partner?
Even if you know how to de-ice your roof, you will still need help from the experts. You can contact our team to handle your roofing problems. Let us present you with sustainable roofing solutions at the most reasonable costs. Call us at 330-313-0620 to get a free estimate.