Ice dam on home exterior
Photo: Norman Pogson/Alamy

Stay Ahead of Ice Dams

Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That's because the same conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. When that happens, the results aren't pretty: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Not to mention soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew.

Keep reading to learn more about how ice dams form so that you can prevent them altogether or make a quick fix if they've already formed.

TOH Tip: To keep ahead of water damage, snap photos where you see frosty buildup. Use the pictures to help target an interior inspection, during which you should check for leaks.
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