Ice Dam Prevention for Commercial Buildings

Ice dams can form on the roof of any commercial building in a climate that experiences snow and ice. A large block of ice on your roofline can pose several risks for your business, so taking preventative measures is vital. Keep your roof in top shape and protect everything and everyone inside by taking steps to stop ice dams.

What Is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams are thick sheets of ice that form on your commercial roof’s edge. If the snow on the upper portion of your roof begins to melt, it will travel downward. Without proper drainage, it accumulates at the edge and refreezes into an ice block. 

The reason why snow can melt on one part of the roof and not the entire surface varies. Anything that can cause a variation in roof temperature, such as ducts, can create areas warm enough to melt the snow. However, the edge of the roof will still likely be cold enough for the water to refreeze.

Why Are Commercial Building Ice Dams Dangerous?

If you leave an ice dam for too long, it will continue to grow. The larger it becomes, the more water will pool on your roof. Pooling water can cause numerous issues, including:

  • Rot: When water seeps through the roof, it can damage the materials inside and cause them to rot.
  • Mold: If water enters your building, it can cause excessive dampness, eventually leading to mold and mildew formation.
  • Roof damage: When water pools on the roof, it can cause damage to the materials, such as shingles, which will eventually bend, warp and lift.
  • Gutter damage: As an ice dam forms along your gutters, its weight increases. The extra pressure can harm the gutters by making them pull away from the roof or break.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

The good news is that there are ways you can help prevent ice dam formation. Some of the most effective methods for preventing ice dams include:

  • Fix air leaks: Roofs with air leaks can create a problem when warm air from inside escapes and begins to melt the snow above. Finding and repairing leaks and other roof damages can keep the warm air inside.
  • Clean and clear snow: Snowstorms pose the danger of ice dam formation right away. Once the precipitation stops, go to the roof and clear loose snow with a broom or hire a professional. Moving the snow before it can melt is a surefire way to prevent ice dams.
  • Improve insulation: A protective layer of insulation helps keep warm air in and cold air out — preventing warm spots from sprouting up on your rooftop.

URI Can Help With Winter Weather Emergencies

At URI, we take every situation seriously and offer a timely response to an emergency. Our dedicated team will work with you to develop a disaster preparation plan. No matter if or how the situation arises, URI teams are ready to help you with commercial and industrial property restoration. Contact us online today to learn more about our services.


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