What Are Ice Dams and How Do They Affect Metal Roofs?
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What Are Ice Dams and How Do They Affect Metal Roofs?

Ice dams can be a frustrating and expensive winter occurrence if they are not dealt with properly. They occur when the heat inside your home gets into your attic and begins to warm the roof. The warming will cause an accumulation of snow to melt, which turns into water that runs under the remaining snow buildup.

Once this water gets to the edge of the roof, it will refreeze and create a dam. When a buildup of melted snow starts to slide off the area, it can develop icicles, indicating you have a problem.

Why Are Ice Dams a Hazard?

The ice dam is considered a hazard because it can trap water that is melted on the roof. It can even accumulate and seep under the shingles, thus entering your home and creating extensive damage to your walls. This is why ice dam prevention is a priority for your home.

How Do Ice Dams Affect a Metal Roof?

The great thing about having a metal roof is that it can help prevent or reduce ice dams. A few factors can help decrease the buildup, and one is in the way of the design in a metal seam roofing. This design is vertically seamless, which means that if ice does build up on your roof there is less chance of it getting under your roofing system like with typical asphalt shingles.

In addition, the smoother surface and the way the material handles heat distribution tend to make the snow melt more quickly, which can also reduce buildups. Because of the reduced friction on the panels, the snow and water will come off of the roof faster than it does with asphalt shingles.

Do Snow Bars Cause Ice Dams?

A common question about snow bars is, do they cause ice dams? The answer is no; they do not cause them. In most cases, the ice dam is going to form on an older home that doesn't have much insulation or lacks proper ventilation. Without proper air flow and insulation it allows the heat to escape, warm up the attic, and melt the snow on the roof, which then freezes at the drip edge and can cause a back up of water that can get inside the building.

Most of the newer building designs have more efficient insulation and eliminate this issue, but older roofs can be reinforced with barriers for ice or water directly at the eaves to reduce the risk of an ice dam forming.

The truth is that the snow bar is in place to keep any accumulated precipitation on the roof until it can melt slowly and safely. This means you will have a barrier that can prevent large amounts of snow from sliding off the roof and causing damage to the gutter and even individuals on the ground below. They not only offer more home safety but can also increase your roof protection and add value to your residence, especially if you live in an area prone to higher snowfall.

How Proper Ventilation Prevents Ice Dams

Not only do you need adequate insulation in your attic to keep the heat from transferring to the decking, but you also need the right amount of ventilation. There are two primary purposes of adequate roof ventilation: to protect against damage to the structure from issues like ice dams and reduce the energy you have in your home. Having the right amount of exhaust and intake vents is a priority because once the warm air rises from the interior, you need it to escape the attic through a vent to reduce the heating of the roofing.

Other Considerations

A metal roof is a good starting place, but there are other things you can do to support the reduction of buildup:

  • Ensure there are no hot air leaks from your home into the attic.
  • Check the area for proper insulation and use weatherstripping to seal as many cracks and leaks as possible.
  • Make sure there is good ventilation in the attic and install a ridge vent as the increased surface area allows for faster release of any heat in your attic..

Some other products can be used to prevent ice dams from forming:

Heating Cables

These can be placed around the eaves of your roof and turned on if there is snow predicted, thus preventing the freezing process and stopping the dam from forming.

Snow Rake

Another option is a specialized rake that removes the snow by pushing it off the roof. This automatically eliminates the buildup and terminates the stress of getting an ice dam. Please

do not rake your metal roof as it can scratch your metal panels.

Your Locally Trusted Source for Metal Roofing

Ice dams can be frustrating to deal with, so having an alternative solution can be helpful. The Metal Roof Company understands the processes that come with winter maintenance for your roof. We are a top-rated metal roofing contractor and provide the highest quality customer service on the market. Our five-star reviews show our dedication to our metal roofing services in Minnesota.

We are here to help you with your project, so give us a call today at 218-606-0045 or click on the link to get started.

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