As the weather gets chillier and winter starts coming in full force, you may start to see icicles pop up along your roof. And while they can definitely add to your home’s “winter wonderland” appeal, you may start to wonder if you should be concerned about them causing any damage. Below, we’ll take a look at whether icicles are bad for your roof, and what you can do to protect your home during the winter. 

Do Icicles Cause Roof Damage? 

Icicles form when water flowing down to the edge of your roof freezes as it drips off the side. Fortunately, having a few icicles is natural and usually won’t cause any harm to your roof. What’s more of a concern is the safety of those entering and exiting your home, as heavy, sharp icicles could break off, fall, and harm someone passing underneath. 

However, you should keep an eye out for your roof accumulating a lot of icicles, especially larger ones. Numerous large icicles generally indicate that your roof has poor insulation, which can lead to more serious issues like ice dams

Icicles vs. Ice Dams

While an icicle is a cone-shaped piece of ice that hangs from your roof, an ice dam is a large buildup of ice toward the edge of your roof. Both of them are the result of inconsistent rooftop temperatures, which usually stem from these two factors:

  • Improper insulation – If your roof doesn’t have proper insulation, heat will be distributed unevenly throughout it, causing the warm and cold spots that lead to melting and refreezing.
  • Natural temperature changes – Rapid changes in the weather aren’t your fault, but could be a cause of ice dams. It’s best to be aware of this, so you can keep an eye on your roof before any major damage occurs. 

Icicles aren’t much of a cause for concern by themselves, but ice dams are. Ice dams can cause serious damage to your home’s roof, gutter, and interior. When the ice dam creates a barrier, blocking melted water from draining off your roof, that water can start to pool and cause problems —   from damaging your shingles, to breaking your gutters, to leaking into your home. 

How to Prevent Icicles and Ice Dams from Forming on Your Roof

If you want to protect your roof from the dangers of winter weather and ice dams, we recommend taking one or more of the following precautionary measures:

  • Remove snow from your roof – As snow accumulates on your roof, scrape it off before it turns into ice. This can be a bit labor-intensive and hazardous, so it’s best to have this done by someone with experience.
  • Insulate your roof properly – Add consistent layers of insulation throughout your roof or attic, so heat is trapped inside to keep you comfortable, instead of escaping to melt snow and cause ice dams. 
  • Ventilate your roof properly – Add ventilation under your roof’s ridge and eaves in order to circulate the cooler air to the underside of your roof.  
  • Replace your roof – If you’re tired of worrying about ice dams every year, you could try replacing it with a roofing material that is less susceptible to ice dams, like a standing seam metal roof

How to Deal with Icicles and Ice Dams Already on Your Roof

If your home has icicles and/or ice dams, don’t try to remove either of them by yourself. Without the right tools and experience, you could end up harming yourself or causing more damage to your roof.

Instead, contact a roofing contractor to get help solving the issue. They’ll be able to remove the icicles and ice dams, repair any damage your roof may have already suffered, and give you some pointers on how to help prevent more damage in the future. 

Seeing a lot of icicles this winter? If your roofing insulation is subpar, it puts your roof and your home at risk for potential problems like ice dams and roof leaks. Werner Roofing can help. We’ll assess your roof’s condition and make recommendations for how to boost your roof’s defenses against winter weather. Then, if you’d like, we can complete the necessary repairs quickly and efficiently! Contact our team for your free roof inspection today.

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How do you know when it’s time for a new roof? The only way to be sure of your residential roof’s current condition is to have a licensed professional personally inspect it. Werner Roofing is proud to offer free roof inspections for every client, so you can be sure of your roof’s condition. Every Werner Roofing inspection comes complete with our promise: “We won’t recommend or sell a roof replacement unless it’s necessary.” 

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