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New Roof and Ice Dam Prevention - One Family's Story

[Update: the winter of 2004 was another ice dam year. I received several inquiries so I added an update section. In 2019 I came across a fairly definitive 1977 U of Minnesota Extension booklet on ice dams. Very little has changed since then!]

In the winter of 1997 we experienced severe ice dams and considerable interior water damage. We had three things going against us: a severe freeze thaw cycle, a finished attic with inadequate knee-wall insulation, and no ice-water shielding on the roof.

In the spring of 1997 we attempted to eliminate the problems we could control. We thought we chose contractors carefully. We did not take the low bid, in fact the bid we accepted was moderately high. Despite that, we had a number of problems. This snippet describes lessons learned and what we would do differently in the future. It first describes the steps we took to reduce future ice dams. After reviewing what's done for ice dams I don't think there's much real data to support most measures. I think a metal roof (as in French Canada) or a Scandinavian dual-roof system are probably the only things that really work. In fact, as of Feb1998, we again had ice dams. Fortunately the weather was less severe, and the ice and water shields (see below) were in place.

Parenthetically, I think there's a vast fortune to be made by an entrepreneur who establishes a national high quality, high tech, roofing solution including installation.

Ice Dams - Looking back to 1997 from 2004

Ice Dam Prevention Steps

Lessons Learned and What I Wish I'd Done Differently

Good Luck.

Confidence (1 to 3): 2. Date Created: 6/19/97. Last Revised: 2/1/98. Expires: . Language: english. Domain: .us. ID: 13. Topic: world. Subtopic: . Keywords: roof; house; home; ice dam; contractor; problems; gutter.

Last Revised: 2/1/98. Author: John G. Faughnan. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been approved by the University of Minnesota.