How to Prevent Ice Dams if you Live in Massachusetts
Ice dams usually form close to the lower edge of the roof. Massachusetts building code states that the affected area for ice dams is 3 feet inside a heated wall. This is why today’s roofers install ice and water shield on all lower edges, on all new roofing installations in New England. Ice and water shield comes in a roll that is 3 foot x 50 feet. If you do not account for the soffit area, and only use the three foot length, you will leave the affected area exposed.
Why Ice Dams Form on Lower Roof Edges
Due to poor insulation and ventilation to0 much heat escapes the living space (poor insulation), then it gets trapped against the roof (poor ventilation). Once heat escapes the living space, it should be vented out of the house. Once the escaped heat melts roof snow, water hits established dams, or creates new ones, and water backs up under the shingles. Older roofs do not have ice and water shield underlayment, so the water comes into the dwelling.
Ice Dam Prevention
- Get the snow off your roof; do not allow it to sit there. Either remove the snow yourself, or hire a roofing company to maintain your roof.
- Remove the lower 6 rows of shingles and install ice and water shield.
- Make sure you have good air flow from your soffit to your ridge vent (good ventilation).
- Make sure you have adequate insulation, and that your insulation does not block your ventilation.
- Install metal standing seam roofing.
- Install rooftop de-icing system.
Other Common Areas Ice Dams Form
- Dormers: It is difficult to insulate and ventilate most older dormers, and they tend to be low sloped. These should be completely covered in ice and water shield.
- Bay and Bow windows: again for the same reason, poor insulation and ventilation.
- Walls: Older homes with blown in insulation, insulation settles and allows to much heat to escape through the siding.
As one of the nation’s leading distributors and installers of innovative and high quality rooftop de-icing products, we make problems with ice dams and icicles a thing of the past for homes and businesses in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. At Newhouse and Sun Construction, we create customer solutions that will prevent and get rid of ice dams and icicles on your home or building FOREVER. Adding more insulation, ventilating an attic, installing zig-zag cables, application of heat tape, or even putting on a new roof will not get rid of ice dams; it just puts a band-aid on the problem, and the ice dams will always come back.
If you would like to discuss your roof and ice damn issues, or would like an insulation and ventilation inspection, we would be glad to audit your home. Please call 978-657-7274 or email us at email@example.com