Can Ice Dams Cause Roof Damage? How Much Does it Cost to Repair Ice Dam Damage? Are Icicles a Sign of Poor Insulation? We Answer all Your Ice Dam Roofing Questions!

When it comes to winter in Southeast Wisconsin, homeowners usually have a lot of questions about ice dams.

As one of the most trusted roofing companies in Waukesha County, we’ve answered the top questions local homeowners have about ice dams, including:

  • Can ice dams cause roof damage and if so, what damage do they cause?
  • Do ice dams always cause damage?
  • What are some tips for ice damage prevention?
  • Are icicles a sign of poor insulation?
  • Are there reliable ice dam solutions that can be put in place?
  • How much does it cost to repair ice dam damage?
  • Is ice dam damage covered by insurance?

By answering these questions, our goal is help you identify major warning signs that could cause anything from a roof leak to a complete roof collapse.

Can Ice Dams Cause Roof Damage?

Yes, ice dams can cause roof damage, including:

  • Attic Condensation
  • Damaged Roof Sheathing
  • Roof Leaks
  • Wall Water Stains
  • Ceiling Water Damage
  • Moldy or Damaged Attic Insulation
  • Attic Framing Rot
  • Sagging Drywall
  • Roof Collapse

What (Other) Damage can Ice Dams Cause?

Besides problems related to the roof, ice dams can damage your home’s gutters, shingles and paint.

But…do ice dams always cause damage? No. Just because you have an ice dam doesn’t necessarily mean there will be resulting damage when the snow and ice clears.

What are Some Ice Damage Prevention Tips?

  • Sufficient attic insulation and ventilation
  • Properly sealed & insulated duct work
  • Bathroom vents & dryer exhausts routed outside (not into the attic)
  • Seal air leaks in the attic floor (i.e. around wiring and plumbing)
  • Seal air leaks around attic hatches
  • Seal air leaks around recessed ceiling light fixtures
  • Remove debris from gutters, drains & downspouts before the first snow
  • Remove snow from the roof using a roof rake (stand 3-4 feet away from the roof’s edge)

Are Icicles a Sign of Poor Insulation?

Yes, icicles are a sign of poor roof insulation and poor roof ventilation.

If you find yourself asking, “Why do I have so many icicles on my house?” it’s a tell-tale sign that you should get a professional to inspect your home for insulation and ventilation issues that may be hiding in your attic, bathroom, kitchen, or other vulnerable areas of your home.

Ice Damage Solutions

Electric Heating Cables – Avoid It

When it comes to ice damage solutions, a lot of roofing companies may say to use electric heating cables; however, these rarely do an effective job, are an effort to install, use electricity, and they can make shingles brittle and fragile.

In fact, in most cases electric heating cables are better suited for problems, than they are an ice damage solution.

Manual Removal – Avoid It

Another common ice damage solution we see is manual removal – by use of shovels, hammers, ice picks, etc. Not only can this ice dam “solution” damage your roofing materials, it can be incredibly dangerous!

As with electric heat cables, manual removal of ice dams is better suited for problems, than an ice damage solution.

So What Should I Do?

The best thing you can do to avoid ice dams, is to prevent them using the tips above, as well as having a professional roof inspection performed in the fall. However, if you already have a dangerous ice dam sitting on your roof it’s best to call in the professionals.

Another option is to do a re-roofing – replacing shingles in lieu of a metal roof, since metal roofs don’t allow water to penetrate the roof, and offer a smooth surface for snow & ice to slide off.

How Much Does it Cost to Repair Ice Dam Damage?

The cost to repair ice dam damage depends on a lot of factors. You might only need minor roof fixes (few hundred dollars), or you may need a complete re-roofing (few thousand dollars).

In severe cases where there’s major water damage inside the home, you may need mold remediation services, carpets and furniture replaced, etc., in addition to a roof replacement.

Is Ice Dam Damage Covered by Insurance?

When it comes to the topic of ice dams, insurance coverage is always a concern. The good thing is, most insurance companies will cover damage caused by an ice dam under the homeowners’ insurance policy. Despite the help of an insurance claim pay-out, nobody wants to go through the misfortune of problems that comes along with ice dam damage.

Contact Reimer Roofing right away if you need emergency roof repair, or feel free to reach out to us for a FREE QUOTE on a re-roofing in the spring!