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Roof Leak Repairs: 5 Steps To Handling Ice Dam Damage


Ice dams are a fact of life in Western New York – and across America. They can cause major water damage to the exterior and interior as gravity pulls water inside of your home through the wood, insulation, and drywall, causing major structural damage and mold growth.

Your best bet against damage from ice dams is to so take the steps necessary to keep dams from forming in the first place. Proper attic insulation & ventilation are the key elements in preventing ice dams from developing – having the right insulation and ventilation will provide the optimal temperature balance in the attic, and prevent the thaw/freeze cycle that causes ice dams.

But, what do you do when a dam forms, and you see – or suspect – damage?


Roof Leak Repairs: 5 Steps To Handling Ice Dam Damage

If you suspect an ice dam developed on your roof, there are things you can do right away to minimize the damage.

1. First, get rid of any built up snow using a roof rake (used for single family homes with pitched roofs) or shoveling it off (on flat roofs, or when there’s a significant amount of snow).


2. Next, remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chunks. Be very careful here – you don’t want to further damage the roof, or hurt yourself by falling off.


3. If there’s a leak you notice, blow cold air into the attic to freeze it, aiming it directly at the underside of the roof where water is actively leaking in. This will stop the leak in its tracks.


4. Even when there are no obvious roof leaks, you’ll want to carefully inspect your roof & gutters when you discover an ice dam. From the attic, check the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim for moisture in the area beneath the dam. In addition, take a look at the insulation, and see if it’s damp. You’re also looking for other signs of water penetration, including water stains and mold. Take your time to thoroughly inspect your roof.


5. If you spot problems, have a professional examine your roof surface. Your roofing inspection contractor should be looking for dark patches, missing or damaged shingles, water streaking down the side of the house, signs of uneven melting/freezing, damp attic insulation, sagging boards, signs of mold and mildew – all of these can be signs of ice dam damage. In addition to identifying the source of the leak, your roofing contractor will detail a plan to repair the damage to your roof. If it appears that mold has formed, you’ll also want to contact a contractor who is licensed in identifying and mitigating mold. Mold can be a serious health hazard, and removal is best left to an expert!

Remember, always keep safety in mind when working on the roof – especially in winter. Or better yet, hire professionals – removing ice dams can be slow, dangerous work, so hire someone experienced at roofing in all seasons.


Call Your Local Roofing Contractor

If you suspect your roof has been damaged and needs repairs – whether because of ice dams or otherwise – the best advice we can give you is to seek out the expertise and advice of an experienced, local roofing contractor. All Pro Home Improvement is ready to help!

We’re a family-owned business with 35 years of experience and offer affordable, expert roof repair, replacement, and installation services to customers throughout the Rochester area. We pride ourselves on outstanding workmanship and great customer service.