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    Ice Dam Prevention with Metal Roofs

    Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
    Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
    Founding farther of Legacy Service.
    Written by LegacyUSA Team

    posted on Feb 28, 2020

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    Ice Dam Prevention on Your Metal Roof

    You never know when a snowstorm might hit (well unless it’s the middle of July and you’re laying out on a New Jersey beach), so it’s smart to be prepared throughout the year. One of the best ways you can protect your home is through ice damming prevention. This will help stop ice dams from forming on your roof.

    At Legacy Service, we’re experts in all things roofing and home exteriors. If you’re looking for roof installation or replacement services, then you’ve come to the right place. Learn more by giving us a call at 215-798-9790 or visiting us here.

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    What is an Ice Dam?

    An ice dam is formed when snow that has accumulated on the roof melts and flows down the roof, under the snow, until it reaches the air that’s below freezing temperature. Then, ice accumulates and causes a dam, and snow that melts can’t properly drain, so it puddles behind the dam. Ice damming can cause problems with your roof, whether it’s damage with the structure, gutters, ceiling, walls, or insulation.

    Ice dam

    What Causes Ice Dams?

    Ice dams, whether on metal roofs or asphalt shingles, are caused by heat from inside the house. When the heat rises into the attic space, it warms up the top of the roof and causes the snow on it to melt. The melted snow turns into water, which runs down the surface underneath the blanket of snow, and when the water reaches the edge of the roof, it refreezes and forms a dam. It’s called a dam because it keeps any other melted snow from sliding off. If you notice icicles hanging from your roof, then you probably have an ice dam.

    Why Ice Dams Are Dangerous?

    Ice dams are dangerous because they can cause damage to the other parts of your home. Since they trap any water that has melted on the roof, it can build up and cause damage to other parts of your home. The melted water may even rise up and go underneath the shingles, seeping through the boards and walls of the home.

    Various Methods to Prevent Damage From Ice Damming

    If you’re wondering how to prevent ice dams from forming on the roof, there are a few methods that you can try. You can also ask your local roofer for assistance. If you’d like to get rid of ice dams yourself, the methods include:

    • Seal any air leaks – Your attic might have little holes in the ceiling, causing the warm air to escape and melt the snow. Using weather stripping, you’ll want to locate and seal as many holes as you can find.
    • Properly insulate your attic – Most homes that have to deal with snow throughout the winter should have a level of attic insulation that’s equivalent to R – 49 value. Since many older homes are not properly insulated, you might have to add another level of insulation in your home.
    • Ensure that there’s adequate ventilation in the attic – Once the attic is properly sealed and insulated, you’ll have to make sure there’s enough ventilation. First, check your roof to see if the soffit vents have been installed. If not, you might need to have gable vents installed as an alternative.

    Using these methods can help prevent buildup on metal roofs, asphalt shingle roofs, and other types of roofs.

    Ice Dam Prevention Products

    So, you’ve learned the methods that you can use to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof, but what about the products that can either help you remove them or prevent them in the first place? Fortunately, there are various products out there that can help if you need to remove an ice dam from your roof. They include:

    Snow rakes – Snow rakes are used to push the snow that’s up on your roof, which helps in preventing ice dams from forming on metal roofs, asphalt shingles, and other types of roofing. If you live in an area that gets snow anytime during the year, then it’s a good idea to purchase a snow rake.

    Heating cables – Many homeowners decide to install heating cables at the eaves of their roof, which can be turned on during a snowstorm to help melt the ice at the edges. You’ll just need to remember to turn them on before or during the storm, and then off later so that they don’t burn out.

    Metal roofing – This product requires more time and resources initially, but it’s also more rewarding in the long-term. Metal roofs have a special coating that’s designed to shed ice and snow before a dam can even form. You’ll still want to have an adequate level of insulation installed in the house.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Ice Dam Prevention

    Dealing with an ice dam is no laughing matter. Whether you’re certain one has formed on your roof or you’re still just wondering, you probably have some questions. We’ve listed some of the most frequently asked questions about ice dams, which will hopefully help answer yours. If you have further questions, please give us a call today.

    How do I know if my roof has an ice dam?

    You most likely have a dam on your roof if you can either see a large section of ice or an unusually large number or length of icicles on the edge of your roof. There may be damage to your roof if you can see water or rust stains on your ceiling. Other signs of damage include rust on hinges, strong musty odors, peeling paint on walls, or soft sections of drywall.

    What should I do if I have an ice dam?

    We recommend contacting a company that will remove the dam for you. It typically costs a few hundred dollars to remove, which is much less than thousands of dollars in damage it could cause if left alone. We do not recommend trying to remove it yourself because it’s dangerous and could potentially harm your roof.

    Are ice dams covered by homeowners insurance?

    This will depend on your policy, so contact your insurance agent to discuss yours. Insurance companies have paid claims to homeowners in the past for damage due to dams, so most companies probably will provide you with something.

    Metal Roofs Prevent Ice Dams

    Do Metal Roofs Prevent Ice Dams?

    Metal roofs, whether it’s standing seam metal or another type, are generally designed in a way that helps prevent ice dams. However, there are several things you should keep in mind. The first is to make sure an ice and water shield is installed. You’ll also have to ensure there are adequate levels of insulation and ventilation in your attic. It’s also a good idea to have products (like the ones mentioned above) that can help remove ice from metal roofs.

    Learn More About Ice Dam Prevention

    Ice dam prevention is an important step to take when it comes to properly maintaining your roof and protecting your home. At Legacy Service, we have a team who are experts regarding all things roofing, so if you need a new roof to help with ice dam prevention, we’re the company to call. If you’d like to learn more about installing a new roof, give us a call at 215-798-9790 or visit

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    Posted on Feb 28, 2020 in Roof

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