Avalon Building Concepts Helps Homeowners To Understand Ice Damming

ice-dam-photoMichigan winters are always fun. We can see freezing rain, snows, quick warm ups, and/or fast cool downs often in the same day. This is the time when many homeowners will see icicles hanging from their eaves/gutters and/or water coming in the house due to ice damming on the roof.

Here are a few main causes of ice damming:

  • * Poor insulation from a house ceiling. An attic with inadequate or deteriorated insulation can cause ice damming.
  • * Lack of ventilation. A house with proper ventilation allows the necessary cold air to mix and cool the hot air from the house, which slows the snow melting down.
  • * Leaking gaps between the living space and the attic. These spaces allow extra heat to “escape” into the attic, which warms the space and melts even more snow.

ice-dam-sieHomeowners know that snow on the roof will eventually melt. However, if the heat from the home causes the snow closer to the roof to turn into water, then that water can either go down slowly to the gutter or travel under the shingles. Eaves/Gutters or the overlap on your roof puts off no heat. This means that snow will remain there to create a barrier. The water that is moving down will hit that cold snow barrier and then freeze again. This creates a dam/ice damming, which will hold the remaining water on the roof. Asphalt shingle roofs are designed to shed water. They are not built to handle freestanding water.

Ice dams can additionally occur with virtually no snow on your roof as well. It takes very little actual moisture to form ice dams. Even a light dusting of snow can create a problem. Eaves/Gutters can have nothing whatsoever to do with ice dams. Ice damming does not discriminate. Eaves/Gutters can fill with ice and provide a foundation for the ice dam above to grow. If your home does not have Eaves/Gutters, the ice dam simply builds on the cold edge of your roof. Avalon Building Concepts has seen countless ice dams on roofs each winter where the homes have no Eaves/Gutters.

While most icicles and large ice dams can be seen from the ground; Avalon Building Concepts is skilled in inspection of the remaining areas of your roof. Ice dams have been known to grow up valleys, around skylights, and on top of dormers making it impossible to identify them from the ground.

This is why Avalon Building Concepts installs a quality ice shield and leak protection barrier at the end of our roofs towards the overlap of the roof, eaves/gutters to elevate the opportunity for ice dams to create. Preventing ice dams and icicles may not be possible at all times, but measures can be taken to stop water from entering the house. These proactive measures include:

  • * Sealing the living space.  A quality ice shield and leak protection barrier of is required throughout the entire State of Michigan for all sloped roof coverings
  • * Install adequate attic insulation. improperly insulated homes are just as bad as under insulated homes when it comes to ice dams. Avalon Building Concepts has fixed bad insulation jobs for this very reason. We frequently correct Do It Yourself insulation installations done in such a way as to inhibit proper ventilation. If air leakage into the attic or rafter spaces is not addressed, all the insulation in the world won’t stop ice dams.
  • * Make sure that the attic is properly ventilated. 

If you are experiencing ice dams around your home, give us a call to schedule one of our estimators to come out for an inspection. Problems caused by ice dams may not show up right away. Often the water that ice dams push into homes travel around wall and ceiling cavities, trapped by vapor barriers and other materials until it can find a path of least resistance to escape. By the time homeowner’s see water inside their homes, it has usually been there a while. Don’t wait – call us today!


Avalon is a four-time GAF President’s Club Award winner, WOOD TV 8’s Roofing Expert, a Mastic Preferred Contractor, ThreeBestRated.com Roofing Contractor for Grand Rapids, and a member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids. Avalon Building Concepts also gets recognized for customer service as an Elite Service Professional on Home Advisor, the Best of Houzz 2017, boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and A rating with Angie’s List to go along with Super Service Awards in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

With more than 30 years of experience, fair pricing, job – site professionalism, and on-time appointments, Avalon continues to satisfy homeowners in the Grand Rapids and surrounding areas. Avalon provides homeowners with high-quality services using top-notch materials to create dependable home improvements and live up to its motto “Trusted, Together, Today.”

Siding, roofing, insulation and window replacement are just a few of the ways that Avalon Building Concepts adds value, beauty and comfort to customers homes. Call 616-871-2507 or click here to schedule a free in-home estimate for your next home improvement.

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Avalon Building Concepts is West Michigan's most experienced home improvement company, trusted by thousands of homeowners in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas.

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