Common Ice Dam Misconceptions

Ice Dams are a common issue affecting Lake of the Ozarks roofs this time of year. An ice dam is the ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof which prevents melting ice from draining properly. This blockage can cause water to back up behind the ice dam and then leak into the home causing damage to it's interior. There are a lot of misconceptions out there on the topic of ice dams and with the help of The Ice Dam Company, Above & Beyond roofing is here to provide you with the facts!


Ice dams can occur with virtually no snow on your roof. 

While snow can definitely be a factor when it comes to ice dams, it's actually a question of ice accumulation. It takes very little moisture to form ice dams and even a dusting of snow can create a problem. Thick snow accumulations can create ice dams more quickly, but you should not dismiss even the slightest amount of moisture on your roof.

Ice should be removed by steam. 

While hammers, picks and hatchets might be able to remove ice dams, roof can become damaged by these well-intentions.  Rather than risking the damage to your roof, you should remove the ice with steam. For information on removing ice dams with steam, please visit:

The leaking caused by ice dams may not show up right away. 

While it would be more convenient if water stains or mold manifested immediately after water entered the home, it typically doesn't happen that way. Often times the water entering the home due to ice dams travels around wall and ceiling cavities. This is because it's trapped by vapor barriers and other materials, until it finds a place to escape. By the time you see that escaping water, it's usually been there for awhile.

Gutter Systems can be damaged by gutter ice. 

Each year we see more and more damaged gutters and one of the main issues causing this is ice dams. Ice can weigh about 60 pounds per cubic foot and gutters are not designed to hold that amount of weight. Therefore, it is important to remove the ice as quickly as possible as away to avoid costly damages to your gutters.

You can see ice dams from the ground. 

While not always the case, you can typically see when ice dams are forming on your roof from the ground. Icicles and a little glacier in your gutters can be easily spotted. The ones that you may not see as clearly are usually above skylights or in roof pan areas that are far out of sight. Sometimes ice dams will form on valleys or on top of dormers making it almost impossible to see those from the ground.


Gutters have something to do with ice dams.

Gutters actually have nothing to do with ice dam formation; they can form on your roof whether you have gutters or not. If you're home is prone to ice dams, you'll get them either way. If you have gutters, ice can build up in them forming a foundation for the ice dam. If  you don't have gutters, the ice dam will just build on the cold edge of your roof.

When it comes to insulation, the more the better.

More is not always better!  The important thing about insulation is that it is installed properly. When it comes to ice dams, improperly insulated homes are just as bad as under insulated homes. One of the most common issues is that the insulation is installed in such a way that proper ventilation cannot occur. If you don't address air leakage into the attic or rafter spaces, all the insulation in the world won't prevent ice dams.

Salt socks are a smart way to address ice dams. 

While salt socks might get rid of the ice dams, the chemicals in certain ice melting products could also damage your roof. Corrosive substances such as rock salt, sodium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride can all present risks that you should be aware of before trying to use them. Some of these chemicals will affect the integrity or color of your roof. They can also be corrosive to the aluminum on your gutters and can damage any plant life where the water ends up draining.

Ice dams need to be thick to cause a problem. 

Ice dams that are only 1 inch thick can still cause major probelms for your roof. A general rule is that the steeper your roof, the thicker the ice dam has to be to cause a problem. On lower pitched roofs, you can have issues with even the thinnest ice dam.

If you're concerned that ice dams have affected the integrity of your roof, contact Above & Beyond Roofing at 573-302-0354 today. Our Lake of the Ozarks roofing company will come out and inspect your roof for free! Since 2004, we've been serving the Lake of the Ozarks area for all your roofing needs. Our staff has more than 100 years' combined experience in the roofing industry!

At Above & Beyond Roofing, we pride ourselves on being locally owned and operated, being open 7- days a week, and we turn the average roofing job in one day!  Contact Ben or Melissa for a free estimate on your next project at 573-302-0354!

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"If it needs a roof we can do it ...
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1212 Spring Valley Rd
Osage Beach, MO 65065
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  1. I completely agree with the moisture being enough to create an ice dam. There was one point in the fall when the cold came in a bit early and it formed an ice dam on my roof without any snow at all. I was so confused as to how that happened.


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