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Ice Damming Calgary

Karen Steinmann - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Because of the huge amount of snow that we have received in Calgary this winter, there has been many incidences of Ice Damming.  How do you know that you have an ice dam on your roof?  For starters, if you step away from your house and have a look at the edge of the eaves and the eaves trough you may actually be able to see the ice that has formed along the edge of the roof line and into the trough.  Or you may see water actually dripping through the soffit and causing ice build up in the form of icicles and down your exterior walls.  See photos below.


What you may have noticed inside your house is that you have water coming into your house around some of your windows or it might be dripping down inside the wall assembly and then soaking your carpet and drywall.

In some worst case scenarios, the ice may actually tear the soffit, fascia and eaves trough right off the building from the weight of the ice and icicles hanging there as it did on a building in Bridgeland.  See below.



Basically, the cause of the ice damming on the roof is warm air rising through your attic and then melting the snow pack on your roof.  The melted snow runs down into the eaves trough where it refreezes (extended periods of freezing cold temperatures eg., -20C for weeks on end make the ice dam process worse).  This process keeps repeating and soon you have a huge build up of ice in the eaves trough and along the edge of your roof.  With more snow falling on your roof, it continues to melt until the water has nowhere else to go (because now the trough is completely full) and it starts to back up underneath your shingles and into the inside of the house sometimes even coming in around the inside of your windows.  Your windows aren't leaking - you have water sitting on your roof!

The immediate solution is to get up on the roof and shovel off any remaining snow that is sitting on it - or try using a roof rake that you can buy at the box stores.  Then chop some chanels in the ice dam so that any remaining water can at least flow over top of the eaves trough and then onto the ground.  You may have to call a company such as ours, to have this work done safely.  Getting on and off a roof can be challenging at any time, let alone when there is slippery ice and snow on it!  If the eaves trough has been bent or torn away from the roof line like the pictures above then you will need to call a contractor that can repair any damage that has occured.

The long term solution is that you need to add more insulation in your attic.  This will stop the snow pack on your roof from melting and then re- freezing at the edge during frigid cold snaps in the first place.  Without the continual snow melt / re-freeze cycle, you will not have the ice dam forming in the troughs and along the edge of the roof line and no water backing up under the roof shingles.

For a more in depth explanation or if you are experiencing any of these problems, call us, we can help!  403-640-1334

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