Is Ice Melt Safe For Roofs?

Anyone who has experienced ice dams on your roof in the winter knows that they can cause physical damage and water leaks in the home.

Use caution when selecting ice melt

After a heavy snow, a serious build up of ice can occur – and it’s not uncommon for a homeowner to wonder “is it safe to put ice melt on the roof?

Icicles on a residential roof in Massachusetts.

There are various kinds of ice melts that are generally available to consumers and not all are created equal. The chemicals are designed to melt the ice, but some are not safe for pets or plants in the area. It can corrode or stain your roofing and siding components. Some are only effective at certain temperatures. 

In general, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride can perform well at lower temperatures, but there is a risk of staining your roof and siding. These chemicals could also corrode your gutters, siding, and other metal components, especially if you need large quantities of ice melt to do a sufficient job. 

It’s best to avoid rock salt (sodium chloride) because it only works down to 20 degrees, can leave a white residue, is harmful to nearby plants and vegetation, and could potentially damage your shingles. 

The downsides to using ice melt on your roof are: 

  • You may need large quantities to actually melt the ice
  • It can be dangerous for a homeowner to get up on a ladder to apply it
  • The ice melt itself may damage, stain, or corrode your roof or siding
  • Ice melts can be toxic to pets and nearby vegetation

Prevent ice dams by ensuring proper attic insulation and ventilation

Thankfully, there are some steps that homeowners can take to protect their home from ice dams in the first place. It helps to understand why ice dams form, and what to do to prevent them.

Ice dams occur when there is a pack of snow on the roof and the attic is warm. When the warm air leaks from the attic, it can melt the bottom layer of snow on the roof. This melted snow drips down the slope of the roof until it hits the roof edge or the gutter, which are often colder than the insulated warm area under the snow pack. The melted water refreezes at the roof edge or gutter, resulting in an ice dam.

Keeping your attic properly ventilated can allow the cooler winter air to enter and flow  through your attic. The attic should also be sufficiently insulated. This prevents the indoor warm air from leaking into your attic (and heating it up). Golden Group roofing is happy to do an inspection of your roofing ventilation system to see what improvements could be made.

Call Golden Group Roofing for Professional Ice Dam Removal

Your best bet is to call roofing professionals to handle the ice dam safely. We are fully trained and insured and know how to remove ice dams without damaging your roofing shingles, gutters, or other components.

We have a fully trained team of experienced roofers available all year round – even in the middle of winter. Call us for any ice dam removal or necessary roof repairs. We service  Worcester, Middlesex, and Suffolk County communities of Massachusetts. Book online or call (508) 873-1884 to speak to our roofing team.