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Ice Dams: The Hidden Winter Threat

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam looks like l ridge around the edge of your roof made out of ice. It blocks melting snow from flowing off of the edge and causes it to build up.

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How Ice Dams Form:

An ice dam is what happens from the melting and refreezing of snow on your roof. The heat from the interior of your home radiates out to the bottom layers of your roof and the snow melts. But when the water flows down, it refreezes because the eaves are still cold. This creates a dam at the edge of your roof. After this dam forms, the melted snow goes under your shingles and freezes because it has no place else to go.

The Dangers of Ice Dams:

Minnesota’s roofs are built with ice dams in mind, but this does not mean they are fully protected. Ice dams threaten the integrity of your roof and gutters and that is why they are dangerous. They can ruin both the exterior and interior of your home. Ice dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and damage your soffits. When the water moves indoors it can cause mold and harm to the home’s wood, drywall, or insulation.

Common Signs of an Ice Dam:

  • Ice on the edge of the roof or in the gutters

  • Water or ice near your windows or siding

  • Ice coming from the soffits

  • Water on interior ceilings or walls

  • Large icicles (larger than the diameter of a pop can)

  • Peeling of interior paint

  • Dark spots on your roof

  • Mold growth indoors

How To Prevent an Ice Dam

  • Remove the snow from your roof immediately after a snowfall

  • Make sure all cracks are sealed to the interior

  • Proper insulation in the attic

  • Clear gutters of debris

  • Use heated cables to heat the eaves


*Use a roof rake to get the snow off of your roof. It is an easy way to get the snow off without the chance of injury.

How To Remove an Ice Dam

The best way to remove an ice dam is with steam. Do not climb on your roof to remove the ice with a chipper or shovel because it could ruin your roof. It could also cause injuries or even cost more money in the long run. Hiring a professional is recommended because they have the correct equipment and can get it done in a few hours.

Highmark has extensive experience with ice dams. We use steam technology that won't harm your roof.

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If you notice an ice dam on your home, contact your insurance agent. Most plans cover ice dams and will get them removed. In addition, they will usually pay to fix damage from one that has already caused a problem.


Do you need an ice dam removed in the Barrington area? Highmark Restoration can help. Call 847-380-3870 for a quote or fill out this form.