Winter is a wonderful time if you like winter sports, but if you are a roof, problems come with the season change that is entirely preventable. Ice dams or ice damming at the roof’s edge create many issues for a homeowner. When you recognize the problem, ice dam removal in Toronto is your only course of action to prevent costly repairs come spring. If you engage in winter gutter maintenance, preventing ice dams on the roof becomes a real solution to the problem at hand. If you have a metal roof ice dam, don’t fret; the same solutions apply for your roofing system to prevent the type of expensive repairs other roofing systems sustain with a lack of preventative maintenance. We have all heard horror stories from friends and neighbours alike, and some of us have lived them when ice dams invade our roofing systems. Your roofing system is the first line of defence for your home, and it is incumbent on any homeowner to monitor the roofing system during the winter storm months. A fresh blanket of snow will shield an ice dam from the naked eye, and the longer it lingers, the more it will cost come spring to rectify the problem.

Why are Ice Dams Bad?

Apart from the damage ice dams cause – lifting shingles, gutters ripped from the fascia, and water leaks into your home – ice dams come with a raft of problems. Water leaks, a roofing system’s mortal enemy, can cause damage to your attic, insulation, drywall, and electrical systems and health hazards when mould grows after a leak. The causes of ice dams are simple: warm sunshine melts the snow and changes it to water, just like we learned in science class. Once the water hits the cold edge of the roof, it freezes, and dams form. This process repeats itself until corrective measures are taken. There are other causes of ice dams that we will touch on here. The most significant reason for ice dams is improper roof ventilation – combined with other factors, it is a recipe for disaster. Poor or no attic insulation – heat released directly to the decking that radiates to the shingles causes snow to melt. If your bathroom exhaust fan vents into your attic, it adds warm moist air to mix, causing heat radiation to the roof. Last but by no means least, folding stairs that lead to the attic that have little or no insulation stimulate heat loss, and it has to go somewhere, like the roof. These are a few causes of ice dams, but they are the most common and easy fixes for your roofing system.

Ways to Remove Ice Dams

Blow in Cold Air

You don’t want to take a hammer, chisel or shovel to your ice dam; it will only damage your roofing system. One way to solve the problem is to change the temperature in your attic. An injection of cold air accomplishes that to stop the snowmelt on the roof. Using a fan, aim it directly at any leak, so it refreezes and acts like a sealant to prevent water from cascading into the attic.

Rake It

Using a long-handle rake, run over the ice dam to recalibrate the temperature in the ice dam area, and it can be accomplished without damaging the shingles.

Use Heat Cables

Temperature equalization is what you are shooting for here using heat cables. To install them, get to the roof edge and lay a zig-zag pattern at the lip of the roof. A helpful hint: install the cabling before bad weather hits, as it will be easier to affect this solution in fair weather than foul.

Use Hot Water

Running hot water over ice dams – gently – will force the ice to melt and run through the gutters to the downspouts and away from your home. Removal of the blockage will prevent gutters from being pulled away and shingle problems in the long run.

How Not to Remove Ice Dams

Manual Removal

The last thing you want to do is take tools to an ice dam. Sure, the tools will remove the ice dam, but you could take up the shingles with the dam, and that is not a good thing. Ice dams don’t just disappear; they reform in the same spot – due to previous problems mentioned – and the dam will form cracks and gaps, splitting the decking at the roof’s edge. This creates leaks, and come the spring thaw, leaks in the attic are commonplace.


Asphalt roofs are susceptible to damage in the chemical de-icer you put on your roof. If the chemicals sit for long periods, it takes on almost an acidic base that eats away at the shingles. Using a chemical de-icer may void a shingle warranty if the shingles weren’t manufactured to withstand the chemical compound of the de-icer. And that is a surprise you don’t need when filing a warranty claim for your roof.

Permanent Fixes for Ice Dams

Ventilate Eaves & and Ridge

You want cold air circulation in the winter. This can be stimulated with a ridge vent and soffit installation to get cold air pouring into your attic. A rule of thumb is one vent for every 300 sq ft. of attic space for adequate ventilation. Also, install baffles to get consistent airflow into the attic.

Cap the Hatch

Use foil to cap the hatch, as it is a large opening for heat to escape from the inside of your home.

Exhaust to the Outside

Dryer vents and kitchen and bathroom ducts must be vented outside to prevent heat buildup and heat radiation through the attic.

Install Sealed Can Lights

If you install outside lights, use IC fixtures for best results. Recessed lights release plumes of heat and can’t be sealed without creating a fire hazard.

Flash Around Chimneys

Get an L-bracket(s) and encircle the chimney to close gaps between the house and the chimney exterior. Use a flame retardant sealant to close the gaps between the chimney and the roof to stem the flow of heat emitted in this area.

Seal & Insulate Ducts

Using fibre-reinforced mastic around HVAC and exhaust ducts, use R5 or R6 foil-treated fibreglass to cover the openings.

Caulk Penetrations

Cables, pipes and vents can stand a dose of flame retardant caulking to close the gaps. If you see light coming through from the inside, use a liberal dose of the same caulking to close the gap.

Understand the Lifecycle of an Ice Dam


Heat builds in the attic and radiates to the roof, except the gutters.


Snow melts, water runs to the gutters, then refreezes.


Ice forms in gutters – dam established. Step 1&2 repeat; ice dam grows. Warm water backflows under shingles and into the attic and a leak is established.

We at Integrity Roofers Can Help You Remove Ice Dams on Roof

A Comprehensive Guide to Removing Ice DamsIf you are having ice damming issues, we at Integrity Roofers take a root-cause approach to the problem. Need ventilation, we install vents. Need insulation top-up; we can install some. Soffits blocked, we can blow out the blockage. Every roof problem is unique and must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. When you see ice dams on your roof, contact us for a complete diagnostic to get the weight off your gutters.

The post A Comprehensive Guide to Removing Ice Dams appeared first on Integrity Roofers.


By: WSI Comandix
Title: A Comprehensive Guide to Removing Ice Dams
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Published Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2022 06:36:12 +0000

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the types of skylights that can be used on metal roofs?

Skylights allow natural light to flood into rooms, increasing energy efficiency, brightness, and warmth. Special skylights are made for metal roofs and provide aesthetics and safety.

Metal roof skylights are available in five types: traditional windows, tube skylights, flat area skylights, fixed dome types, fixed dome types, and flat glass skylights.

The traditional window type, which is made of frame-mounted glass windows that provide clear visibility both outside and inside the house, is the frame-mounted window. This is the most commonly used type of metal roofing skylight in homes, businesses and barns.

Tube skylights feature a tube-shaped structure that directs natural sunlight from the roof’s acrylic lens through a weather-tight conduit down to the desired location, typically between ceiling beams or trusses.

A flat area skylight made from flat glass is covered with an acrylic covering that is securely attached to an aluminum frame. This covers overlaps directly on top of the roof. It provides superior thermal insulation compared to traditional framed windows that have two layers of tempered safety glasses filled with inert gases. This gives the skylight greater strength and flexibility to withstand temperature changes and gusts without causing damage.

The dome-type openable is ideal for ventilation due to its simple access design that can easily be opened remotely when required.

Fixed dome type produces energy economy by allowing plenty of daylight, while keeping unwanted heat out in summer months. The translucent coating membrane laminated onto its upper part is made from secure hardy materials such rigid PVC and Fiberglass. This provides impressive strength against Mother Nature’s most powerful elements over the years while still filtering out UV rays within your space.

Are solar tubes like natural light?

Solar tubes can bring natural light into buildings without the need to make holes in the roof. Many people are curious if these tubes produce light that is as natural as sunlight.

Yes, solar tubes can bring more light into commercial or residential spaces. The tube’s reflective channels allow sunlight to pass through them and direct it directly into the house or office.

Solar tube lights have a color rendering Index (CRI) that is very close to natural sunlight. They also produce a much warmer light than other lighting sources, such as incandescent, fluorescent and LED bulbs. Plus, because they use diffusing lenses along with multiple reflective surfaces, solar tubes also create an even distribution of brightness throughout the room to ensure that all areas are illuminated uniformly.

These solar tubes, which are fully automated and highly efficient, can be used on any type or pitch of flat or pitched roofing. Their advanced glare-free technology makes them a safe option for any indoor environment while still providing plenty of needed illumination. Users of solar tubes around the world report finding this type of lighting to be more relaxing, refreshing, and clean than any other lighting.

What are the drawbacks of skylights

Skylights may sound great in theory, but there are a few disadvantages to consider before you decide to install one in your home.

Skylights have one potential drawback: their high cost. Skylights are costly to install and can have a higher initial cost than other window options. This is especially true if you choose skylights that have flashing or venting system.

Another problem with skylights are the possibility of leaking. Bad installation or damage due to impacts can cause water to leak into your home. This could lead to expensive and severe water damage. If you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfalls or strong winds, this risk is magnified.

The location of the skylight can also affect interior temperatures. Skylights don’t provide the same insulation as other windows so without proper shading or window coverings too much sunlight can make rooms very hot or extremely bright during the day making it difficult for residents to rest during daylight hours.

What is the best combination of skylights with flat roofs?

The short answer is yes, you can have skylights with flat roofs. You need to make sure the roof is watertight and dry.

There are two types: flat and pitched roof skylights. Pitched roof Skylights work best when used with sloped roofs. Flat roof Skylights are made for flat roofs. It’s important to select the right type of flat roof skylight when installing a skylight on a flat roof as they’re typically made from materials such as acrylic plastic or thermally broken aluminum, which helps reduce heat transfer when compared to traditional glass windows.

After you have chosen the right level of insulation, make sure your installer correctly installs it and seals it against rain-driven wind. Talk to a specialist if there are any questions or concerns about fitting a flat roof Skylight.

Skylights can be installed directly onto the roof structure or as an addition to existing breeze block constructions using flashing kits. You should ensure that there is adequate waterproofing around the kite fairytale’s frame. Failure of membranes could cause serious damage to ceilings and walls surrounding any air space above the ceiling that is not covered by a ceiling-mounted scope.

In conclusion, if all other conditions are favorable, there should be no problem installing a fast road vehicle on a flight-roof.

How do Solar Tubes and Skylights Differ?

Skylights and solar tubes both provide plenty of natural light for interior spaces. There are however some key differences.

Solar tubes can be used to brighten dark spaces with minimal electricity. The solar tube can be used almost anywhere.

Skylights on the other side are larger than sun tubes, which means they can catch more sunlight. You can get outside views similar as windows with skylights. They also have the option of having built-in screens or blinds. Skylights are becoming increasingly popular for their aesthetic appeal. However professional installation is required because of the large size of skylights as well as the complexity and details involved in rooftop flashing to prevent leaks.

It all comes down to what you need. While skylights can provide a spectacular view from the most natural light source, solar tubes require more paperwork and higher installation fees. Solar tubes might be better suited for those who are looking for an affordable, yet efficient lighting solution with minimal paperwork.

Do I need a roofer to install skylights?

Yes, you do need a roofer to install skylights. Skylights let light through openings in a roof. These small holes can be made by cutting through several layers of roofing material and must be properly waterproofed to protect your home from moisture damage. To avoid any problems down the road, a skilled roofer is available to help you.

Skylights are installed by cutting through the existing roof structure. You may need to work around existing beams and trusses. The opening’s angle should be adjusted to get the maximum amount of sunlight during the different seasons.

You should also consider the weather conditions in which you live. Not all manufacturers have products that are suitable for every climate. A professional roofer can help choose the best options, taking into account your needs and measurements. Roofers also know how to follow local building codes when it comes to flashing and shingle installation so that your new skylight is correctly installed.

Finally, an experienced roofer will know how different building materials react in response to changing weather conditions. He can also advise you on how to minimize future problems related to your new skylight investment.


  • In addition, our dimming systems allow daylight control ability and can help you save up to 95% of the daytime energy cost. (
  • Installing and flashing the window itself will cost $200 to $300 for homes with asphalt shingles, and 20 to 30 percent more for metal or tile roofing. (
  • If the room has numerous windows, the skylight should not be more than 5 percent of the floor area and not more than 15 percent in rooms with few windows. (
  • Skylight sizes begin small, such as a 12 x 12-inch square, and can be as large as 15 percent of the room’s square footage. (
  • However, including all the expenses, skylight installations can cost you a good 600$ to 2500$. You can choose the skylight particulars according to your project specifications and budget constraints. (

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Keep Your Cool: The Best Skylight Shades & Covers to Improve Energy Efficiency

Do you want to feel comfortable while saving energy and enjoying the natural light that your skylight provides? It is important to choose the right combination between shades, covers, or frames in order to keep your cool throughout all seasons.

A quality shade or covering is key to your comfort and energy efficiency goals. Material, thickness, color composition, tinting, and composition all affect how much heat can escape or enter space. It also influences the intensity of reflected sunlight.

Good insulation properties are important when selecting skylight shades or covers. Look out for aluminum composite and PVC vinyl. Foil shades, also known as reflective shades, reduce heat gain and help to keep homes cool in the summer months. Foil shades can also reduce fading and block UV rays from carpets or furniture located near the skylight. Densely woven fabrics are better at blocking visible lights, which helps maintain privacy while still allowing a pleasant amount of diffused daylight into your home. Electric-powered retractable skylights can be automated to provide a wide range of colors and opacities.

A skylight cover or shade should be considered based on its thickness. Thicker fabrics will be more durable to heat than the thinner ones. For protection against ultraviolet radiation, make sure the product you choose is in compliance with raw material specifications.

It can also have a significant impact on the color and composition of your skylight shade or cover. Because darker colors absorb more heat, they are better suited for rooms that do not get direct sunlight. Lighter-colored materials help reflect the sun’s heat, keeping it outside the room while still allowing natural light to enter. The composition of the material is important too. Air-permeable fabrics allow air to pass through, allowing for ventilation.

Consider the tinting of any skylight covers or shades you select. Look out for skylight shades or covers with higher levels of UV blocking than standard.

Skylight shades and covers can be used to protect your home against the sun’s heat, UV rays and still allow natural light into your home. You’ll save money and energy. Make sure you shop for the right product to meet all your requirements.

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