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If you suspect that you’ve had ice dams this past winter, don’t wait until next season’s snowfall to make amends. If left unchecked, ice dams can cause damage to your shingles, ceilings, insulation, and the rooms below.

The primary cause of ice dams is attic air leaks. Warm, moist air leaks through poorly insulated areas or holes in the roof, causing water to melt and refreeze on your roof. How can you prevent these air leaks? By concentrating your efforts anywhere there is a hole in your attic ceiling and roof.

Chimney and furnace/water heater flues. Close the gap between house framing and the chimney and vent flues with metal; seal with red fire-stop caulk.

Hatches, doors, vents and holes. Be sure to seal any opening in your attic, such as hatches and doors leading to the attic, openings around electric wires and plumbing.

It’s a good idea to caulk or install insulating foam around all vents and holes on your roof. Remember that before you start caulking you should remove all old caulk and other loose materials.

Insulate your attic. You have two basic options for insulating your attic: batts (or blanket) and blown-in insulation. The former is generally made out of fiberglass and is laid in between and then on top of joists. Blown-in insulation is made of cellulose that is applied directly over the existing insulation. This method does a better job of filling in the spaces around the framing.

What about heating cables? We do not recommend installing heating cables as these may shorten the life of your roof and cost you extra money to operate.

If you think that your roof has already sustained some damage due to ice dams, or for any reason at all, please give us a call. As Minnesota’s leading roofing contractor, we know what we’re looking at and we’ll make sure your home is in good hands.

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