Preventing Ice Dam Damage: The Importance of Insulation & Ventilation

Preventing Ice Dam Damage: The Importance of Insulation & Ventilation

Ice dams are a common winter roofing problem and while they cannot be completely avoided, there are preventative steps a homeowner can take to minimize their impact. Ice dams can become a serious issue in shingle roofing, especially, particularly if your area receives significant snowfall during winter.

The fluctuating temperatures consistent with a DE winter can cause ice to melt and re-freeze on the surface of the roof. The ice that accumulates on the edge of the roof leading to ice dams, which form as snow on the upper part of a roof melts. The melted snow water runs down the roof slope under the blanket of snow, then refreezes into bands of ice at the roof’s edge to create a dam.

Once the dam forms, additional melting snow continues to build up and form pools behind the dam, eventually leaking into the home through the roof or roof trim.

3 Tips on Preventing Ice Dam Damage

If you want to proactive prevent ice dams, make sure adequate insulation & ventilation systems are in place, before winter arrives.

The Importance of Attic Insulation

Proper attic insulation is the most effective way to prevent ice dams from forming.

As heat escapes from the interior of the home and enters the attic, it warms the underside of the roof, initiating the ice dam cycle. Reducing or eliminating the heat on the underside of the roof is the most effective way to prevent ice dams. A well-insulated attic not only reduces the heat under the roof, thus stopping snow from melting too quickly—but it also increases energy efficiency and comfort.

The Importance of Attic Ventilation

A properly ventilated attic deters ice dams by keeping the underside of the roof cool. In some homes, an electric fan may be installed in the attic to pull in outside air, keeping the temperature inside consistent. Attic ventilation also helps to prevent moisture buildup and keeps the underside of the roof cooler in the summer, lengthening the life of the shingles.

Proper ventilation in the attic of your home is an affordable solution that keeps your roof at a stable temperature even on the coldest days of winter.

Maintaining a Healthy Gutter System

Ice dams create a barrier that impedes melted snow from draining normally through your gutter system. Sections of ice that remain on the upper portions of the roof are problematic as well, for similar reasons. Hence, maintaining a healthy gutter system is key in ice dam prevention.

Make sure your home’s gutter system is in good condition before the first frost. Additionally, simple things like cleaning your home’s gutters help prevent ice damming. If your gutters are full of debris, snowmelt will re-freeze when flowing into the gutter during sub-freezing temperatures, forming a dam.

Your Delaware roofing professionals can provide comprehensive gutter inspection as part of your fall roof inspection – there’s still time to schedule one before winter storms hit!

Take Care of Your Roof BEFORE Problems Develop

If you suspect your roof is improperly ventilated/insulated, need help with seasonal maintenance or leak repairs, call All Roofing Solutions, a family-owned roofing contractor with over 15 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing.

We offer thorough pre-winter roof inspections which allow us to uncover even most hidden roofing problems and offer repair options. We also offer emergency roof repairs in case the damage requires immediate attention.

Join the ranks of our happy clients today! Call 302-725-ROOF (7663) in DE or 610-551-ROOF (7663) in PA to schedule your inspection or for you FREE ESTIMATE!


  1. Posted December 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Attic ventilation is the one most overlooked problems when it comes to roofing!

  2. Posted December 28, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    This is such an important thing especially in Canada, since the roof sustains the most damage during that time.

  3. Posted January 17, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I think way too few homeowners think about proper ventilation and how it related to roofing. It makes perfect sense, though.

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