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snow and ice daming
Hello, I had a house built in 1998 with metal roofing. The pitch is not a lot (I will try to find out for you).

I am having ice daming problems and it creates a HUGE risk when it does slide off. One side of the house it slides off regualy (I think it gets just a little bit more sun) The problem side is the front of the house where people park and walk. Here the second floor metal roof, when it does fall, its a small 4 foot outcrop of a roof that houses the garage and then the ground. Last year a corner of ice must have hit the lower, and it put a foot round hole in the metal and 5/8 ply.

I am looking for a solution. I call the manufacture and they stated there are things I can do but I need to contact an engineer??

I have two thoughts and need some direction. 1- I can prevent it from falling all together by a fence (seen them here or there, like a small sort of pipe fence) or 2- I need to heat the roof some how some way so it falls off right away and can not build up.

Where can I find these type of products, or can you tell me your feeling about this issue.

Thank you for any suggestions.. I am about a wits edge since no one will help.

I'd like to try to help you. Is there any way you can call me at my office -- 1-800-543-8938 ext 201?

There are several issues to consider here but I am as confused as you by the engineer comment.

Give me a call.

Todd Miller
I own a 175 year old house in Central NY. It has an approximately 50 year old steel roof on it. The roof was put on top of what is likely an old cedar shingle roof. The roof is in good shape and I have had it maintained and coated by a metal roof expert.

My problem is the edges. My house has slanted ceilings on the second floor and no attic (unlikely any insulation). Because of this, I get a lot of ice build up on the edges in the brutal winters here. Since the steel roof was installed (50 years ago) on top of an old shingle roof, there is no mondern flashing or drip edge where the metal roof meets the old house. I am consistenly getting ice back up into the house. I have had flashing installed on the edges and folded over the siding on the soffets to try and create a barrier, but this has not worked. Any advice other than taking everything off down to the rafters and starting from scratch. As I said, the roof is in good shape, my problem is what is under it and how to modernize the edges.
A picture is worth ... well, a lot of words.

Any chance you can email me a picture of this situation? I can comment much easier if I fully know what you're up against.


Todd Miller
We live in a renovated barn in northern Virginia that is about 100 years old. It has a standing seam metal roof which we just recently replaced. The roof has a 9/12 pitch and we have "snow birds" attached to the standing seams as was on the original roof. The interior of the "barn" is of post and beam construction with cathedal cielings throughout. We only have a small "scupper" at the very peak of the roof. The metal roof is laid over planks.

Our problem is that with all of the snow and ice that we have been having lately we are getting leaks into the house at the edge of the roof. We think that the snow and ice is building up in the gutters and the water is backing up through the vents in the soffits. Is there something we can do to prevent this ice and water buildup? The original roof did not have any gutters and maybe now we know why. Would a "leaf guard" gutter system work better to allow the snow and ice to shed off the roof while still allowing the water to be captured in the gutter?

We have tried to contact the installer of the roof, but it seems he has now gone out of business as all of his phones are disconnected. We have also contacted the manufacturer of the roof who gave us the referral for the installer and they have not provided us any assistance either.
You are probably correct however the souce of the water forming the ice could be from condensation as well. Depending on how you renovated in insulating the ceiling or rafters and finished the ceiling could have a bearing now that you have possibly installed a tighter roof system.

The immediate problem is the ice damming though. If the gutters were installed too high such that the outer edge of the gutter is higher than the roof plain, then it will become a trap for the snow and ice and could be torn off eventually. Check this out and you may need to have them lowered.

Next is ensure that they have a proper overhang on the metal and used a drip edge. Flat sheets of metal can have capilery action and the water runs up under the sheets at the edge unless a drip edge is installed. If not this could be easily retrofitted.

Last is to install heater cables in the gutter and possibly up the roof the distance of the overhang, which is cooler than the balance of the roof and can add to more freeze cycles. They are reasonably economical to purchase and can easily be hooked to a thermostat to control the costs.

Hope this helps.
Thank you Todd for our phone call.. I have not done anything as yet. For everyone else, here are the ideas we talked about. Better venting.. It appears that I do have some heat loss and I have been tossing around the idea of venting the area with a fan for summer purposes of geting rid of the heat build up, and this may also help in the winter to get more cold air in. If this does not work, the possiblity of smooth metal on the overhangs (as you would see on conventional roofs) and last resort, some type of heat tape that will stay in place when it does "come down"..
In reading the other posts, I did forget to mention my cathedral ceiling in 80% of the roofing.. This too I would assume is causing issues. If I am able to get a fax that is reversable, I maybe able to pull some more cold air thru the ridge venting above the insulated cathedral ceilings.. This remains to be seen since I may just end up pulling more air from the peak cap rather than the ridges were I need it..

Anyhow, I'll let everyone know what happens, but I think this years is to late to try anything since the build up is already present..

Thanks for the input.. Kevin
I have just joined the facilities committee of the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington VT. One of the issues we are facing is described below. My question is: Is there a way to install flat metal flashing, on top of the standing seam roof, all the way up the valley so the snow/ice can shed?

Roof: installed by Middlebury Slate Company. Standing seam metal warehouse style roof. Warm roof. Snow builds up in gable valleys as it cannot slide off roof - compounded by snow coming off gym roof. Ice dam develops and backs up water which leaks in. Options considered: heating elements to melt ice, membrane on top of existing roof, snow removal as needed, removal of gables. Action to discuss options and develop a plan of action.


Chris Moran
I am unsure of what you descide as gable valleys are. Sounds like you have an upper roof shedding onto a lower roof. If you could sketch out a small birds eye view roof plan showing ridges, gables, valleys, roof pitch and direction of slope and fax it to 519-688-2201 I can try to help out directly. Also an elevation photo would help. email to areid@dura-loc.com.
I have a metal roof installed in 2001. Due to th lack of proper insulation , water freezes on the unheated eaves forming ice dams in severe winters. Are heating cables safe to install over metal panels so that drainage channels can form? I am concerned about proper grounding.
The heat cable manufacturer should have thorough instructions for grounding. I would suggest trying to hold these in place using adhesive or non-invasive clips rather than trying to screw hold-down clips to the roof.
My house has a metal roof. The snow sheds fine everywhere except from the valley. Any suggestions on how to prevent this?
This is pretty typical of valleys with any type of roofing. The show presses in from adjacent sides, holding itself in place.

I do not obviously know all the particulars of your situation. One fact could be the type of valley system installed with your roof.

However, it is possible that heat tape may need to be used in order to melt the snow in this area. If so, the heta tape needs to be used in gutters and downspouts as well, if present.

Another thing you might try would be snowguards or a snowfence up higher on the roof above the valley. This might reduce the amount of snow colliding in the valley at any given time.
1] I installed a metal roof last year and last winter we had problems with snow damming in the valleys and ice sliding off at high velocity. I'd like to install a combination of clips to hold the ice back and heating cables to melt the ice/snow build up in the valleys (and hold the heating cables). Can you suggest some literature/website that would explain how to do this and how to find manufacturers of non-invasive clips and roof heating cables?

2] I have a deck outside my bedroom that has very little pitch and has a rubberized surface that is in need of replacement. Are metal roofs recommended for virtually flat roofs? The installer of the metal roof on the house didn't want to install a metal roof on this area.

thanks, Michael
I am sorry but do not know of any websites or other information specific to installing heating cables on metal roofing. Your metal roofing manufacturer or the cable supplier may be able to help.

A few thoughts though ...

It is certainly preferable to not make holes in the roofing system. If you do need to make holes for physical attachment, then they should be sealed with a butyl rubber sealant.

On standing seam systems which are installed on clips, you will want to attach to the seams rather than through the panels and into the roof deck.

As far as putting on snowguards, there are many types available and installation methods will depend upon the profile of your roofing system. There are some good adhesives available which some of them can be attached with. Installing snowguards uphill of the valleys can help to lessen the "collision" which naturally occurs in valleys and results in dams, etc.

There are metal roofs for low slopes. They are known as double or triple lock mechanically seamed systems generally installed on larger commercial roofs. A commercial metal roofing contractor could supply these. There are also various hand-seamed systems which can be installed and then the seams are soldered closed.

I hope this helps.
I have had the same problems on a steel roof for years and have tried many different solutions none of which worked. Yesterday I heard what I thought was probably the best solution that I have heard of yet from a fellow builder a bit smarter than me.
Foam the roof between the strapping. The theory being that the ice only forms because heat is escaping. That spray on foam seals all cracks and pretty well stops all heat loss. You likely have to have it done and it costs a lot but I think that it is worth a try. The other cheaper method would be to add 1.5 inches of SM (if the strapping is 2x) and foam any cracks. I am going to try this method this year and will give a report next spring. If anyone has already tried this please let me know if it works or not.
This will probably help considerably.
I have had a similar issue: I use a 2 rod snow fence at the edge of my steel roof to protect a hot tub below from being crushed. The problem was this past winter we had so much snow that the snow held by the fence turned into solid ice, creating a huge ice dam. I am looking into using a "heat cable" product provided by "heater plus" http://www.heatersplus.com/psr.htm
My question is as it relates to the effective installation of such a cable. Would it be adviseable to wrap the heat cable around the snow fence vs attaching it directly to the roof like the typical shingled roof heat cable installation?
We also have a metal roof and have had the ice dam issue. My question is about heating tape on the overhang... how do you attach the heating tape to the metal roof so that the heating tape does not get dragged off the roof with the snow? Also, is there a reputable heating tape supplier that you would recommend?
-old thread-

My personal suggestions would be to find a way to ventilate the underside of any metal roof to break the "pattern heating" of the ice affected areas.
You might want to look here http://thomsonelectricsupply.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1
Thanks David, I am glad to see I wasn't the only one looking for help with metal roofs and snow build up. I followed the link to thomson supply and they had roof cables and clips made for metal roofs. Thanks for the help.
David, thanks for the plug for our company. We have been selling Danfoss roof cables for a few years and honestly feel like they are better than any other brand of cables in that same class. We also sell a self-regulating cable from a company called Technitrace. We used to sell Raychem but Technitrace gives a 10 year warranty on their cable as long as it is installed according to their specs. Both are great cables and can be installed on metal roofs. Our website is www.thomsonelectricsupply.com and our phone # is (800)757-2252.
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Could I get the name/s of a manufacture who sells these products. I have a cabin with a metal roof with an ice jam. thanks


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