How to Prevent Ice Dams in Northern Michigan

  • Dave McBride
  • 15 Dec 2016

Those picturesque icicles hanging from the roofs of Northern Michigan homes have the potential to cause significant damage to homes.


In the winter, when warm air inside the house seeps into the unheated attic, it creates warm areas on the roof. When that melting snow on the roof moves down the roof slope it eventually reaches a cold overhang and refreezes. As the process continues, ice builds up along the eaves and forms a dam. This dam will eventually push the water back up under the shingles and sometimes even into the ceiling or wall inside the home.

When this happens, roof shingles, sagging gutters, damaged insulation and water stains are common. Water from ice dams may also cause structural framing members to deteriorate, metal fasteners to corrode and in some cases mold and mildew may form in attics and on walls.

How do you avoid such situations?

Stopping ice dams is simple, in principle: Just keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves.

Put into practice the solution is often complicated and short term fixes are just that. At McBride Construction Inc. we recommend that you fix the problem right the first time to ensure the integrity of your home. We recommend that the ceiling and roof insulation in your home be increased to at least R-38 to cut down on heat loss. In addition, it is imperative to make sure that the ceiling is airtight so warm air cannot flow from the house into attic space. There are many factors to take into consideration and the potential solutions are numerous. Contact McBride Construction Inc. we will be happy to provide a thorough analysis of how to prevent ice dams from developing at your home.

For additional reading on ice dams I recommend the following articles;