What Is an Ice Dam?

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Home Exterior

icicles falling roof repair gutters

Ice dams are the long, heavy icicles that you see developing on the edge of your gutters or of your roof, the ridges of ice that develop when the layers of snow and ice in direct contact with the roof surface melt and the resulting water runs down on the roof surface to become frozen again by the time it reaches the roof edge. These long icicles might sparkle beautifully in the crisp light of the winter sun, but they are dangerous for the roof, for the gutters and for your entire building – here are some things that you should know about ice dams:

  • They are heavier than they seem – ice is very heavy, much heavier than other forms of frozen water such as powder snow. Ice dams can cause extensive damage to the gutter pipes or roof edges that they are attached to by dragging down the structures and by loosening or breaking fasteners;
  • Removal should be careful – grabbing and ripping off a large icicle is not the best idea – the strength that you would need for the pulling could easily damage your roof or your gutter. The best removal method is to melt the icicle a bit to make sure that gentle pulling is enough;
  • The risk of water damage – ice dams might weaken the structure that they are attached to, causing cracks and holes to appear and any crack or hole that develops in your roof surface or your gutters increases the risk of water damage underneath your roof. The best way to avoid that is by preventing the formation of the icicles with proper insulation installed right underneath the roof.  Early Spring is a great time to address problems caused by gutters and other roofing discrepancies, many of the Thornton roof repair technicians can get your roof repaired within a couple of hours, if the damage is not extensive.