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Ice Dam Removal on Metal Roofs

Some customers ask whether we do not offer ice dam removal for certain kinds of roofs.  We can remove ice dams from almost every kind of roof there is.  But some roofs are more dangerous than others.  For instance, metal roofs and ice dam removal can be a tricky combination.

Do metal roofs prevent ice dams? Often, but not always

Even though steep metal roofs are nearly ice-dam-proof, they still require ice dam removal once in a blue moon. When they do, ice dam removal becomes extra tricky.  Metal roofs are among the most dangerous types of roofs we work on.  The slipperiness of metal roofs is what almost always keeps ice dams from forming, but by the same token, ice can slide off at the drop of a hat if an ice dam does form.

If you don’t want to get sued by the parents of the Girl Scout who came to sell cookies, but instead played with the cool icicle attached to the 2000-lb. ice dam on your roof, you may want to consider ice dam removal.

Ice dam removal on metal roofs is easier said than done

First, it’s extremely difficult (and sometimes impossible) to get up onto a metal roof to work – especially if it’s a steeply pitched metal roof.  It’s too slippery.  In most cases we’re forced to work from our ladder.

Second, we can’t just steam the ice head-on.  If we can, our preference is actually to put the ladder to the side of the ice dam and steam sideways.  That way, we won’t be eligible for a Darwin Award if a big chunk of ice breaks off and races down the roof.

Of course, we don’t always have the luxury of steaming sideways.  Sometimes the ice dam runs all the way across the overhang, and there’s nowhere for that ladder to go other than right in front of some portion of the ice.

When this happens, we steam channels into the ice: two feet to the right of the ladder, and two feet to the left of the ladder.  We do that to create controlled breaking points that let the ice ice chunks roll off to either side of our ladder and .  It’s still scary when the huge chunk of ice comes sliding down roof right next to our ladder, but it’s safe.

Still, ice isn’t predictable.  An ice dam removal expert always has a “bail out” plan.   That means that if something goes very wrong, he has a pre-planned place to jump in the unlikely event he has to.

Those are the kinds of hazards we face all winter long.  If you ever wonder why ice dam removal costs so much, that is one of the reasons.  It’s tough, beard-freezing, dangerous work, but sometimes it just needs to be done.


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