Mar 12, 2019

6 Reasons Using Roof Salt Pucks for Ice Dam Removal Can Damage Your Home

Ice dams on your roof spell trouble because the excess water they can allow into your home can cause damage to ceilings, drywall, and insulation.  The most effective method for ice dam removal is low pressure steaming.  This technique separates the ice from the roof without damaging the roof’s shingles.  For safety reasons, this process should be completed by a contractor using roof safety harnesses.  An alternative technique for ice dam removal is the utilization of salt pucks, sometimes referred to as ice pucks, that are placed on the roof with the intent to thaw the ice and create channels for trapped water to flow off the roof.  While in theory, this can seem like a low-cost alternative to hiring a company to steam off your roof, here are six damaging impacts of using the ice puck approach to remove ice from your roof.

roof steaming

Ice Melt Pucks Can Cause Discolored Roofing

When salt pucks are used for ice dam removal, the salt that comes in contact with your roof has the potential to change the color of your shingles and not in a good way.  The white salty residue left over by the roof pucks or ice melt pucks will alter the appearance of the roof and ultimately have a negative effect on your home’s curb appeal.

Rusted Nail Heads & Potential Shingle Problems

The shingles on your roof are fastened with nails.  Nails that encounter roof salt pucks can begin to rust.  This leads to rust spots on the roof.  In addition, the rust minimizes the ability of the nail to hold the shingles in place, allowing for them to pull up.

Oxidation On Your Home Can Be A Result Of Roof Salt Pucks

Salt that washes off the roof can corrode aluminum gutters and siding.  The rate of oxidation is largely dependent on humidity levels, the alloy of the aluminum, and air temperature.

Using Ice Pucks Can Destroy Your Landscaping

In the winter months, your home’s landscaping is hardly of concern.  However, it should be.  The effects of using salt pucks on your roof can create long-term devastating effects to your home’s landscaping.  Salt that comes in contacts with various species of plants can compromise their ability to withstand arctic temperatures.  In addition, salt that’s absorbed into the soil can absorb water that would otherwise be consumed by a plant’s roots, creating a drought-like scenario.  Large doses of salt also make it difficult for grass to absorb oxygen and water, causing it to die.

Salt Damage Can Cause Corroded Concrete

If salt washes off the roof and meets a concrete sidewalk or driveway, the material often begins to crumble.  This is because of the corrosion created to the rebar below the surface.  Additionally, discoloration of the sidewalk or driveway is highly probable.

Run-Off Issues Can Impact The Environment Around Your Home

Whether it’s the pucks themselves falling off the roof or the remnants of the salt pucks being washed away in the rain, run-off proves problematic.  This is because the elevated levels of salt make their way to groundwater, lakes, and streams.  Introducing excessive salt to foreign water sources can hinder the ability for fish, birds, and aquatic vegetation to regulate fluids.  The presence of salt also encourages damage to trees and erosion.

Ice Dam Prevention

Icicles can be a sign of ice dams but many homeowners wrongly assume that this is always the case.  To avoid the damaging impacts of using salt pucks on your home, consider shifting your thinking from “how to remove ice dams to “how to prevent ice dams.”

Home performance diagnostic testing by a reputable professional can allow them to pinpoint where a home is losing energy.  Effective tools for evaluation include a blower door, borescope, smoke stick, and infrared imaging.  Upon completion of the diagnostic testing, a contractor can put together a custom plan that addresses areas of your attic that require sealing.

Here’s How a Blower Door Test Can Determine Where Your Home is Losing Energy:


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