Village Siding and Windows
(810)  966-9206

We remove ice dams

Posted by Jeff admin on 2/21/2014


We can help fix ice dam issues.

diagram of an ice dam

What Causes the ice dam? Think of your roof as having two parts; a warm roof and a cold roof. The warm roof being the area you see when looking in your attic and the cold roof being the area that extends beyond your exterior walls, the overhang.
  1. Snow falls and builds up on the roof.
  2. Heat from the inside of our homes rise through the ceiling and into the attic.
  3. That heat warms up the underside of the roof deck causing the snow on top to start melting. The melted snow starts draining toward the gutters.
  4. If you have an overhang on your roof this is where your ice dam will typically begin. Since the overhang doesn’t receive the heat that escapes into the attic, the snow and ice melts at a slower rate than the warm section of the roof. Without a way to get off the roof and into the gutter, the melted snow stops and re-freezes at the cold section of the roof. When this process repeats itself, the buildup of the ice dam appears.
Why does this happen?
  1. We live in Michigan. It snows and is often very cold.
  2. We have gaps between our insulation and framing that allows the heat to escape to the roof or we don’t have the adequate amount of insulation required for our climate.
  3. We don’t have the proper ventilation circulating through the attic to control the heat and humidity.
  4. Sometimes ice dams will form in the gutter.  This often happens when the gutters are full of debris and the water can’t drain to the downspouts so it freezes and builds up over the roof.
What damage can occur?
  1. The weight of the ice dam can bring down gutters not to mention produce large ice cycles that can be a danger to people below.
  2. Water trying to drain can be diverted behind the fascia and enter the attic causing a leak to occur in the ceiling.
  3. Water that gets trapped in soffits and walls promotes the growth of rot and mold on wood and drywall.
  4. On older roofs that have no ice dam membrane or roofs with an improperly installed membrane, water can be forced under the shingles causing damage to the roof and leakage into the attic.
  5. In extreme cold, wood tends to shrink leaving nail heads exposed and loosening boards. The weight of a gutter attached to a loose fascia board can cause the gutter to come down often with the board attached, damaging drip edge and shingles in the process.
How do we fix it? Remember, the key is to keep the temperature in the attic close to the temperature outside. If we let it rise to a level where condensation forms on the underside of the roof deck, then we are running an additional risk for rot and mold growth.
  1. INSULATE. A minimum R-value of 49 is recommended for southeast Michigan. 
    The R-value of insulation is determined by its thickness and density. Different types of insulation will carry a different r-value per inch. A quick way to see if you have the minimum insulation required is to check with a tape measure. If you have fiberglass insulation, then you should have a minimum of 14” for batts or rolls and a minimum of 16.5” for loose fill. If you have cellulose then the minimum settled insulation should be 14”.

    Do you have the minimum required insulation level?

  2. AIR SEAL. Make sure penetrations and fixtures in our attics are sealed. The Department of Energy estimates that 40% of our homes energy use is lost to air movement. Where air goes so does the heat. Check things like recessed lighting and duct work in the attic. Bathroom fans and skylights. If there is a void around these and most times there are, then heat will escape into the attic. WARNING – Be careful when insulating around recessed lighting and follow the manufacturers instructions to prevent chance of fire.
  3. VENTILATE. Make sure you have enough airflow moving into the attic balanced with roof vents to let heat and moisture escape.