Maryland Homeowners: Roofing Tips To Prevent Damage From Ice

This post is sponsored and contributed by a Patch Brand Partner. The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.

Prepare your home for winter and avoid the risk of ice dams on the roof of your house.
Prepare your home for winter and avoid the risk of ice dams on the roof of your house. (Shutterstock)

For many Maryland homeowners, winter is a time to start worrying once again about heavy snowfall, cold weather, and ice dams on the roof. Avoid the worry this year by learning how you can prevent ice buildup on the roof of your home.

How Ice Dams Form

Ice dams happen when a buildup of ice forms on the roof of your home, typically after a heavy snowfall that’s followed by freezing temperatures. Warm areas of the roof melt some of this snow, causing melted water to flow to other spots where the roof surface is colder. Here the water turns to ice, leading to ice dams.

But it’s not the ice you need to worry about. It’s the melting snow that’s being blocked behind these dams that causes concern and can lead to expensive home and roof repairs.

No matter how well your roof is designed and built, pooling water from melted ice and snow can quickly seep into shingles and through into your home below. All this water can cause extensive damage to drywall, flooring, and electric wiring as well as to the gutters and exterior of your home.

Here are 3 ways that you can prevent ice dams:

1. Add More Attic Insulation

Much of the heat on your roof during the winter months is caused by heat escaping your home. One cause of this can be insufficient insulation or insulation that is no longer effective in keeping the cold out and heat in. It’s this leaking heat that will cause snow to melt and pool up behind ice dams.

Another cause of heat loss is cracks and gaps around drywall, light fixtures, and pipes. Hire a professional, or DIY if you have the skills, and add more insulation to those areas where heat loss is occurring. This includes the attic and around duct work and pipes. You can also reduce heat loss by weather-stripping access and storm doors and caulking around the exterior of upper floor windows.


Avoid ice dams with the help of a HomeAdvisor roofing expert in Maryland.


2. Check Attic and Roof Ventilation

Adequate ventilation in the attic can help to pull in colder air from the outside and push out warm air. This air flow ensures that the temperature of the roof shingles doesn’t get warm enough to melt the snow and cause ice dams.

Most homes have roof and soffit vents, but they need to be fully open to prevent ice from damming. Take a look at the vents in your attic to be sure they’re not blocked or clogged up with dust or debris such as dirt and leaves.

If you don’t already have one, it’s a good idea to install a continuous ridge vent along the peak of the roof. This will increase air flow and add more ventilation.

3. New Roofing

If new roofing is on your list of home projects you can avoid damage from ice dams with a little bit of preventative planning. Ask your roofer to install Waterproof Shingle Underlayment (WSU) at the edge of the roof beside the gutters and in areas where two surfaces of the roof are joined together. This material will stop water from leaking into your home if an ice dam causes water to back up.

Don’t let ice damage your roof this winter. Call a HomeAdvisor roofing contractor in Maryland.

This Patch article is sponsored by HomeAdvisor.

This post is sponsored and contributed by a Patch Brand Partner. The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.

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