Ice Dams And Roof Repairs In Winter: Why Prevention Is A Better Idea

Posted on: 15 November 2017

Ice dams are the direct result of bizarre weather in winter. First you get a major blizzard, then you get fifty-degree days that melt the snow. Then everything freezes up again and gets stuck in the eaves troughs and becomes a massive chunk of ice. While fascinating and pretty to see, these ice dams wreak havoc on your roof. You may even be faced with roof repair in the middle of winter. Preventive measures can help, and here is why prevention is definitely a better idea than leaving the dams and being forced to repair the damage the ice dams create.

Ten to Twenty Dollars of Rock Salt vs. Five Hundred to a Thousand Dollars in Roof Repair

The costs between prevention and repair are extremely dramatic here. If you buy two twenty-pound bags of rock salt, you might spend about ten to twenty dollars. You scoop and sprinkle this salt into the gutters all around the house and scatter some across the lower parts of the roof. When snow hits the salt, it melts immediately. Ice cannot develop into giant ice dams either. Your roof is saved.

If you do not opt for rock salt, you could end up with bent and contorted gutters, missing shingles, and even water damage. Having to repair that in winter is more expensive too, as roofers have to be out in the cold, scooping snow off and trying to melt ice rapidly to get to the damage—hence the hundreds of dollars or more for the repairs. 

Using Heating Coils

Heating coils for your roof loop in ribbon form and lay on the lowest part of your roof, just above the gutters. They plug into outdoor outlets and keep the roof too warm for snow and ice to accumulate. While some people are concerned about starting a fire with the heating coils, they should not be. The coils are just warmer than the freezing point of water, which is enough to stop ice from accumulating. Heating coils cost more than the rock salt, but they are still dramatically less expensive than roof repair.

Roof Rakes

Not everyone has the time or the stamina to go outside in a blizzard and rake snow down off the roof. However, if you do, roof rakes are less than $50 and are worth every penny. Additionally, they are reusable, which means that you can use them again and again without them wearing out, and they require no electricity. That still beats the costs of a damaged roof.

If you find damage on your roof, check out websites like to learn about how to get repairs done.