Ice Dams – Rebuild Texas

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Information about Ice Dams – Rebuild Texas

Phil Puccio

Something that every home or property owner needs to consider when trying to gauge the likelihood of damage from Winter Storm Uri is the presence of ice dams.

In addition to this historic snow and ice fall, there have been many problems here in Texas. In fact, “problems” are an UNDERSTATEMENT; Near impassable road conditions, major power outages or blackouts, lack of water resources, clean water, or an undesirable abundance in the form of burst pipes and flooded houses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Ice dams can seem like harmless “icicles” to any unsuspecting homeowner, but the reality is that the potential for leaks and even serious damage is a very real and likely possibility if left untreated.


During an ice and snow storm, ice can slowly accumulate on the roof overhang until an ice wall forms after a heavy snowfall. Once the wall is formed, ice formation gets exponentially worse and water begins to pool behind it. Roof shingles are only for water drainage, not water or ice buildup so water can get under the shingles and into your home when not cared for – and that could cause leaks and flooding in your home. Your house is full of insulation and it is literally a sponge. If that sponge (your insulation) is saturated and is now dripping into your house, you have a much bigger problem than you think. The end result is you have to rip out all of your sheet metal and existing insulation.


The place where an ice dam will form on your roof depends on its style and slope. Most often they start to grow at the edge of the roof and start to grow back from there. Two of the most noticeable signs that your home has an active ice dam are dampness in your attic or damp areas on the ceilings of your home. If any of these events occur, it means that the ice dam has damaged the roof covering of your home. However, there are less obvious signs of ice dams that homeowners often overlook, which can cause significant damage. If there is a lot of snow on the ground and on a canopy, but little snow on the main roof of the house, this is a signal that heat is escaping from your attic due to poor insulation and ventilation.


If you suspect an ice dam, the best immediate action is to take photos of the ice dam and the surrounding area. Also, write down the date the ice dams appeared and the date of the storm. The reason for this is that filing a claim with your insurance company gives you a big head start in trying to prove your case. The next best course of action is to consult a professional for a thorough damage assessment.


Reason 1: Ice dams often cause water to get through your roof and into your home. This water can cause all kinds of costly water damage inside, cause electrical outages (or fires), black mold, ruin furniture and valuables, and drive people and pets away. Sometimes you can see a small leak before it gets worse, but sometimes the leak is severe immediately. Leaks are the number one immediate cause of ice dam removal and the biggest risk you take in delaying it – unless an electrical fire breaks out.

Reason 2: Ice dams often attract even more snow and ice. Snow tends to cling to or pile up on ice dams, and icicles often form on or near ice dams when the water melts and re-freezes with changes in temperature.

Reason 3: Ice dams make it difficult to keep your roof free of snow. They prevent you from raking the roof. Of course, if you can’t keep up with the roof rake, it’s probably a major reason you even have ice dams in the first place. Most people in Texas are obviously unaware of proper roof raking procedures as snow and ice are rare here. That is why we suggest that the simplest form of action is to call a professional.

Reason 4: There is a slim chance your roof will collapse. Roof collapses don’t happen as often as you might think, and we don’t know a single case in which an ice dam was the only cause of a roof collapse. But ice dams weigh tons, and roof snow often weighs even more. The combination of ice dams and roof snow is just too much tonnage for some roofs (especially when rain follows a heavy blizzard).

Reason 5: Ice dams can cause fires, especially electrical fires. Water and electricity do not go together. In the event of leaks and saturated insulation, there is a risk of an electrical event or even a fire.

Reason 6: Ice dams ruin your peace of mind. Even if this ice dam doesn’t damage your home or harm others, you can’t know for sure. You can live in a house for 40 years and never have an ice dam until the “big one” shows up. You can have an ice dam every year and make it go away on its own until you have one that destroys everything.

Reason 7: why you should call a professional. It is often almost impossible to determine from the outside what, if damage has already occurred. Often the damage is internal and may require a trained eye. For your peace of mind, it is best to have a thorough examination done by a trained professional.


An ice dam alone is a lot of trouble, but it’s also a sign of a bigger problem: Either your attic has an insulation problem, a ventilation problem, thermally leaky areas (AKA attic bypasses), or all three. It is uncommon for ice dams to form on a cool roof. Ice dams form almost every time because the attic contains too much heat and snow melts and your roof runs down, re-freezes and backs up when it reaches the colder parts of your roof (usually your overhangs or valleys, or both). When the proper insulation and sealed attic bypasses mean that minimal heat is getting into your attic, or when the proper ventilation allows the heat to escape easily from your attic, ice dams become far less of a problem.

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