Avoid Ice Damming On Roof With Quick, Inexpensive Fixes

Wednesday, February 2nd 2011, 6:52 pm
By: News 9

Ed Murray, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – While Oklahomans have been digging out their cars and clearing driveways, there's another problem to think about after the snowstorm. Melting snow on your roof can hit a rim of ice along the overhang and cause what's called ice damming.

Snow drifts hanging over gutters or that have collected in valleys on your roof can cause major damage, but not to the roof itself.

Brad Neff, President of Heartland Roofing, said the overhangs or eaves are much colder than the rest of the roof and as the snow melts, it can hit an ice dam, especially along the gutters. This dam will cause the snow to back-up and get under the shingles.

"When it thaws again, it's going to run inside the house and can seriously damage insulation and drywall, flooring, all kinds of things in the interior," said Neff.

Thankfully there's a simple and inexpensive tool that can help clear snow off your roof. Neff said a snow rake takes only a few minutes to build and costs less than $20 to make.

Buy about 12 feet of 1.25 inch PVC pipe, plywood and four bolts, washers, and nuts.

"I cut these two pipes to fit basically this distance, about a foot and a half, close to two feet. And then stuck them together at this T and then drilled holes, four holes to hold it onto the plywood," explained Neff.

He then connected a 10 foot section of PVC to the T joint and now he's ready to scrape. Neff said it's vital to clear around the gutter so snow and ice can't dam up, but be careful not to scrape the roof except very lightly.

One you scrape and clear off heavy snow, it's important to completely clear gutters. Neff's other inexpensive fix involves a sheer sock or pantyhose and rock salt and ice melt.

Putting rock salt and ice melt directly on your roof will damage shingles, but by filling the socks with salt and ice melt, tying them off and sticking a few in your gutters, it will help clear them out.

"Put that sock in there with the ice melt and it will melt around that and flow through that sock and when it flows towards the downspout that will have salt content or ice melt in it and it'll help clear the gutter all the way down," said Neff.

While it's rarer, ice damming can also occur on roofs without gutters. A sure sign you have a potential ice problem is icicles.