How to Remove Ice Dams on Your Roof

If you live in a climate that experiences long, cold winters like Wisconsin and Minnesota, ice dams can be a problem. While we all love the beauty of icicles hanging down from the eaves of our home creating that picture-perfect winter landscape, the fact is ice can wreak havoc if not addressed.

Ice dams are thick mounds of ice that build up along your home’s eaves. They can loosen shingles, tear off gutters, and cause water to back up and enter your home. This can result in serious damage that can be expensive to repair.

How Ice Dams Form

Ice dams form when heat from the roof melts the base of the snow on the roof. The water travels between the snow and your roof shingles until it reaches your gutters, which are cold because they extend beyond the exterior walls of your home. There, the water re-freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice.

The flatter your roof, the easier it is for an ice dam to form and grow. If the snow and ice build up in your gutters, it can cause an ice dam to form.

How To Remove Ice Dams From Your Roof

Removing an ice dam is best accomplished by breaking it free in small pieces. It is best to have them steamed off of the home to prevent damage to your roof. This is slow and dangerous work, and is best done by an experienced professional like the experts at All Exteriors Home Improvement & Outdoor Living. Then it is suggested to get an estimate from All Exteriors for proper insulation and ventilation to help prevent the ice dams from forming again.


Of course, the ideal situation is to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. This is best accomplished by addressing your home’s roofing system.

A professional roofer can seal all points where warm air enters from your living space immediately below the roof sheathing. Keeping your living space well-insulated can prevent conduction and convection of heat through the ceiling. Venting the roof to remove any heat that does leak is the final step.

Taking these steps will not only prevent ice dams, it will eliminate a significant loss of heat from your home. Truly a win-win solution!