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Ice Melt: How To Tell If It’s Safe Or Damaging Your Roof

Ice dams are notorious in the winter for causing roof damage. These thick ridges of solid ice build along the eaves and loosen the roof coating, tear off gutters, and cause roof leaks. You have to get rid of the ice dam, but should you use rock salt or a different solution? 

Melting ice dams is a tricky business and should not be done without a thorough evaluation of the removal approach. Some techniques may damage the roof and cause serious injuries. 

Using a Chemical Ice-Melting Products

Ice melt is applied on top of accumulated ice or snow. It absorbs moisture on top of the ice, softening the bond between the ice and the surface. Ice melt is available in liquid, tablet, or crystal form. Some people fill a pantyhose with a chemical de-icer, seal off the ends, and throw it on the roof.

While these products will undoubtedly melt the ice, they could also damage your roof. Ice melt can cause staining of the roof and corrosion to the fasteners, gutters, and flashing.

Breaking Ice Dams With a Mallet

This manual ice removal method involves using a claw hammer, mallet, or another tool to break the ice into small chunks. While this seems like an effective approach at first glance, it can cause extensive damage to the roof. The ice and shingles could both shatter, leaving you with the potential of roof leaks.

Spraying Warm Water

Get some hot or warm water, pour it into a fertilizer canister or large spray bottle, and run the water over the ice dam. This will loosen up the ice and allow the water to drain out through the gutters. But this is only a stopgap solution because the water will eventually turn cold and freeze over the existing ice, making the problem worse.

And since the water will fall down your roof quickly, you’ll need enough water to penetrate the ice and make a lasting difference. Hot water could damage and discolor your roof coating in addition to the burning and scalding risks.

The Ultimate Ice Dam Solution: Roof De-Icing System

Prevent ice dams from forming and protect your roof’s integrity with de-icing systems. These systems come in two forms:

  • Roof De-Icing Cables: These are insulated electric heating wires easily installed on top over the roof via clips. Generally seen in a zigzag pattern, the cables are fastened into position over the eaves to prevent melted snow from refreezing. They ensure there’s enough space for water to flow into your gutter.
  • Radiant Edge Systems: These systems prevent ice dam formation by focusing heat at the roof’s edge and ensuring runoff water stays melted as it flows through the gutters. Radiant Edge Systems are installed along the sides of the roof, providing a cleaner appearance than cables.

When it comes to something as important as your roof, don’t take chances with quick fixes bound to cause significant damage to your roof. A quality roof-deicing system from O’LYN Roofing could solve your problem and ensure you have peace of mind all winter long. Contact us today to learn more about our systems and get a free estimate.