Metal Roof Ice Dam: Melt And Strategies To Prevent Buildup

Ice dam formation on the metal roof comes with so many problems.

It stops snow melts from draining down, it can cause leaks in your ceilings by damaging shingles, and it can cause your roof to cave in.

Metal Roof Ice Dam

If you live in an area that is prone to snowstorms, then the kind of roofing you have on your home matters a lot. And many roofing experts believe that metal roofs are the best for such climates.

But why?

Stick around and I’ll be telling you all you need to know about metal roofs relative to ice dams!

What Is A Metal Roof?

If you’ve never used metal roofing, then you may not have a clear idea of what it is.

Well, a metal roof is a type of roofing that is made from pieces of metal materials. These could be flat/designed plates or metal tiles.

Among the most common material used in making metal tiles are copper, zinc, and steel alloys.

Why Do Experts Recommend Metal Roofing For Areas Prone To Snowstorms?

Good question and the answer is pretty straightforward – Metal is known for its ability to resist harsh weather conditions (like a snowstorm).

Also, metal roofs are highly impermeable and can last for a very long time.

Most importantly, snow and ice do not adhere well to metal roofs, and they can be easily shed off.

Do Metal Roofs Prevent Ice Dams?

One of the beautiful aspects of using metal roofing is that the material is non-adhesive to ice and snow. This makes it one of the best roof types for people who live in icy climates.

To offer a direct answer to the question – Yes, metal roofs can help prevent ice dam formation. But only to an extent, as there are other steps you can take to ensure ice dams do not build up on your metal roofing.

How To Prevent Ice Dams On Metal Roof

Here is how to prevent ice dams on a metal roof:

Metal roofs may be able to shed ice off faster than other roof types, but that doesn’t mean ice and snow won’t rest on them at all. If your roof is flat, then there’s a higher possibility of snow hanging on for longer periods.

That being said, follow these tips to keep your metal roofing free from ice dams and ice dam damage as a whole.

  1. Use roof rakes

One of the best ways to prevent ice dams from forming on your metal roof is to tackle the physical source of the ice dams early – Snow!

Ice dams form when melted snow from a warm part of the roof flows down to the cold eaves and refreezes to form the dam. And the more snow that melts, the more it will accumulate by the dam (which doesn’t allow the melts to drain downwards).

Luckily, metal roofs shed ice fast, but how fast?

Keep in mind that the larger the ice dam, the more destructive it will be to your roof, even if it’s metal. This is why you need to remove snow accumulations as fast as you can.

And one of the best tools you can use for this is a roof rake!

With this tool, you can scrape off the snow before it becomes problematic. The best part is, you don’t have to climb up your roof to use this type of rake.

It comes with an extendable handle that lets you work from the ground. All you have to do is stretch, grab some snow, and drag to the ground.

If your metal roof is large, then you can have some extra hands help you out to get the job done faster.

Be careful not to plant the roof rake too deep into the snow, as doing so could mean ripping off your metal tiles in the process.

  1. Use steamers

Another way you can give your metal roofing a better fighting chance against ice dam formation is by using steamers on the snow build-up.

A steamer is a powerful machine that converts water into steam. It is built with a hose that can help you direct your blast towards the snow.

You can always buy or rent a snow steamer from a home improvement store in your area.

Most snow removal experts advise that you use low-pressure steamers for de-icing. This is because the heat it produces is warm enough to melt the ice but won’t damage your shingles.

However, we are talking about metal roofs here, so it doesn’t matter if you use a hot steam washer, as the heat will not be able to damage your metal roof tiles.

  1. Use heat cables

Installing heat cables all around the edges of your metal roof will ensure that ice dams have no chance of forming in the first place.

Heat cables are very affordable and easy to Install. Some self-regulated models produce heat according to the outdoor temperature.

Metal Roof Edge Ice Dam: What You Shouldn’t Do

Among the many metal roof ice dam preventive measures, you should take, do not consider using ice melt pucks as one of them. While they are easy to use, these roof melt pucks are bad for metal roofs.

Melt pucks are filled with calcium chloride (which can melt the ice). The major issue here is that it can corrode metal as well.

Once your metal roofing sheets start corroding over time, they will begin to break and cause leaks into your home.

Conclusion

Metal roof ice dams are very easy to get rid of, this is because ice doesn’t adhere well enough to metal, making it easy to be shed off.

But this doesn’t mean you should wait for the ice to slide off by itself, as some damage may have been done before then.

This is why you should take some steps to protect your metal roofing from ice dam formation. And the tips provided in this article will be of help.

Remember not to use ice melt pucks on your metal roof, as they are loaded with Calcium chloride which is known to corrode metal.

Good luck!

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