The Science of Experience



Make Sure Your Attic is Well-Insulated in Order to Prevent Ice Dams

Posted by Becky Eades

Dec 15, 2015 11:30:00 AM

Large icicles on the edge of your roof may look pretty, but they're actually a common source of roof damage. Icicles stem from ice dams, which are large buildups of ice on the edges of roofs.


Ice Dam Formation

Ice dams form when the snow on your roof meats unevenly and the water trickles down towards the edge of the roof where the temperature is lower. This buildup if ice can have several nasty consequences, including damaged shingles and gutter damage.

Causes of Ice Dams

Usually, poor insulation in the attic is to blame for ice dam formation. If your insulation is inadequate in one section of your attic, the part of the roof on top of that attic area will heat up and cause the ice to melt. The only way to stop ice dams from forming is to add insulation to your attic.

Preventing Ice Dams

Traditional fiberglass insulation allows plenty of air gaps for warm air to sneak through, and thus it is not the best choice for preventing ice dams. If you've had trouble with ice dams in the past, consider having spray foam insulation applied to your attic -- it will do a much better job of completely inhibiting the flow of warm air through your attic space and towards the roof. Unlike fiberglass insulation, it forms and air-tight barrier. As an added bonus, it is moisture-resistant, so if your existing ice dams happen to melt after you have it applied, you don't have to worry about soggy or moldy insulation.

If you're considering having spray foam applied to your attic, make sure you hire a contractor who has the proper training and equipment for spray foam insulation. NCFI supplies equipment for spray foam insulation and we can help you find an applicator in your area.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, NCFI, Winter