T his winter has provided us with unpredictable amounts of snowfall and ice storms, leaving the exterior of our homes at risk. Ice Damming can incur problems to roofing systems, especially in South Jersey with the extensive amount of snow. To avoid wet and costly damage to your roof this winter, as a homeowner, it is extremely important to educate yourself.

Ice Damming- Interior of Structure
Ice Damming

With permission from a recent customer, the images above can provide you with an idea as to what the interior and exterior of your home may look like if ice damming occurs.



Ice damming occurs when snowfall melts and re-freezes into the Gutters and Roof Ridges of your home. An ice dam forms against the lower edge of your roof due to a temperature variance between the higher and lower sections of the structure. The lower portions of your roof are more likely to be cooler than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point. The build-up on your roof consequently causes improper runoff drainage and as it begins to melt, it may begin to infiltrate the underlayment, of your home, leading to leaks.

While the shingles on your roof are meant to be water resistant, however, they’re no match for the water trapped behind the ice dams for lengthy periods of time.

Winter Damage: Ice damming on a roof system.


To avoid ice dams before they happen, there are a few things you can do as a homeowner to ensure that your roof is protected during these winter storms. Theoretically, removing the accumulations of snow from the roof before ice dam’s form is ideal. However, climbing up on your roof during a snowstorm can be slippery and extremely dangerous.

Every roofing contractor will agree that it is best to prevent ice dams from forming to avoid any inconveniences. Important considerations to keep in mind while preventing ice damming this winter:

  • Is the temperature of your roof surface sufficiently maintained?
Melting snow that produces ice dams can be controlled if a roof surface temperature is maintained below freezing. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends minimizing the amount of heat reaching the underside of the roof deck by adding a continuous ceiling air barrier or alternatively sealing interruptions in the ceiling vapor retarder with air-impermeable materials such as closed-cell spray polyurethane foam.

  • Is your attic properly ventilated and insulated?

A balanced attic ventilation system will help remove stray heat so temperatures throughout a roof deck are maintained close to the outside temperature.

In areas with a history of ice dam formation, vent opening areas and ventilation space height (in cathedral ceilings) should be appropriately sized to establish uniform rising air flow, which will cool a roof deck to below freezing when outside temperatures are below freezing.

Measures that prevent stray interior heat from reaching a roof deck may not always sufficiently prevent ice dam formation. Sometimes, ice dams occur even when attics are correctly insulated and ventilated because of solar heat and variation in snow cover thickness.

  • Does your roofing system have a layer of roof underlayment?

A watertight barrier of self-adhering membrane underlayment or layers of underlayment felt cemented together with asphalt bitumen may be applied to a roof deck along the eaves as protection against ice dam leaks.

  • When was your last roof inspection?

If you are at all concerned with how your roof system is going to handle the heavy amount of snowfall this winter, you should have your roof inspected to determine if your ventilation and insulation is sufficiently providing you with the protection you and your family need to stay warm and worry free.


If you’re unsure as to how well your roof system is handling these winter storms, contact Duane Mainardi Builders to request a roof inspection as soon as the weather holds up.  We can assist you in protecting your most valuable asset, offer ice dam removal services or provide a quote for any potential repair necessary.

Call Duane Mainardi Builders at 609.923.4548 for a FREE estimate today!