K-Guard Kansas City Blog

The Long-term Costs of Ignoring Ice Dams

Ice Accumulation on Home Gutters - K-Guard Heartland

Chilly winter months and seasons of fluctuating temperatures create the perfect environment for ice dams to form on roofs and gutters. Homeowners may opt to ignore these icy growths on their gutters, assuming they will melt and go away on their own eventually. However, ignoring ice dams is dangerous and can lead to expensive roof and gutter repair as well as water damage and mold growth.


Ice Dam Damage Costs: What Happens When You Ignore Them

As a homeowner, you should always take ice dams seriously and take measures to remove them and prevent them from reoccurring. Here are some of the consequences of ignoring ice dams and the costs involved in dealing with these damaging situations:

Gutter Repairs

Ice dams are extremely heavy, with only one inch of ice build-up reaching the weight-bearing limit of most gutter systems. Think they’ll melt? Think again!

Once an ice dam forms, it will continue growing until the weather finally warms up consistently enough to melt it away. An ignored ice dam can grow to be several feet thick, extending throughout your gutters and down toward the ground. These massive walls of ice put some serious pressure on your gutters, bending and warping them out of alignment with your roof and even breaking them off entirely.

Repairing your gutters can cost anywhere from $400 to $600, and even more expensive depending on the extent of the damage, how many stories tall your home is, and the material of your gutters. Seamless gutters will also cost more to repair than sectional gutters, as more of the system needs to be replaced when damaged.

Roof Repair

If an ice dam builds up from your gutters onto the roof, it can lead to significant damage to shingles. Depending on the amount of damage the ice dam caused, replacing standard asphalt roof shingles can cost as much as $10,000. More complex or larger roofs can be even more costly to repair, reaching upwards of $25,000 in roof replacement costs.

Water Damage and Mold

Ice dams don’t just sit still and add weight to your roof and gutters. These mountains of ice are formed by fluctuations in temperature causing snow on rooftops to melt and refreeze. As the ice dam melts in direct sunlight or warmer daytime temperatures, this water can soak underneath damaged shingles and get into the walls and ceiling of your home. Water damage and mold growth can occur completely hidden behind drywall, only making an appearance when the damage has reached severe levels.

To resolve water damage, you’ll need to have any areas where mold has formed removed and then replaced with fresh wood and drywall. The mold removal alone costs $20 to $25 per square foot to remove—and that doesn’t account for the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged areas. You may also need to evacuate your home at least until the mold has been removed for the safety of your household.

Ice Dam Removal

Even if you catch ice dam formation quickly and get it removed before any excess damage can occur, it costs money to remove the ice dam—ranging from $650 to $2,000 depending on the size and scope of the ice dam.


Save Money by Investing in Ice Dam Prevention

Investment in ice dam prevention may mean more cost now, but compared to the expense of repairing damage wreaked by ice dams, you’ll save thousands in the long run! Here are some ways you can save money through ice dam prevention methods and keep the ice from ever having a chance to build up:

Bulk Up Insulation

While you can’t do much about fluctuating temperatures outside, you can keep warm air from leaking out of your attic and roof! Heat leaking from your home through the roof is a common cause of ice dams, as it warms and melts snow underneath, which then slides down to a cooler part of your roof and refreezes. By improving your home’s insulation, you’ll not only help prevent ice dam formation—you’ll also reduce your energy bills!

Try Heating Cables

There’s only so much you can do about heat escaping through your roof, and as far as we know you can’t control the weather. You might consider installing heating cables along your roof to add another layer of defense against ice dams. These cables will warm your roof to prevent melting snow and ice from refreezing elsewhere atop your home. Heating cables, or heat wire, cost around $12 to $20 per linear square foot to have professionally installed.

Improve Your Gutters

Because ice dams often start on your gutters as a result of water not being able to drain away before refreezing, one of the best ways to prevent them is by investing in better gutters! Gutter systems that have ample protection against clogging or other issues that may cause ice dams to form will significantly decrease the chances of ice dams forming.


How K-Guard Gutters Prevent Ice Dams

When it comes to protecting your home from ice dams, no gutter system does the job quite so well as K-Guard Leaf-free Gutter Systems! Clogging gutters can lead to ice dams as water isn’t able to flow away from your roof, but K-Guard gutters are guaranteed to remain clog-free with zero maintenance required. On top of that, K-Guard’s durability is unlike any other gutter system out there, with a practically unlimited lifespan, corrosion-resistant materials, and patented hangers built to withstand almost any weather condition.

If you’re looking for ways to avoid costly damage from ice dams and other precipitation-related repairs, contact us today to learn how K-Guard can provide the protection you need!


Related Articles