Wolgast Restoration Blog Page

The Cost of Ice Dams to Your Business

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Feb 14, 2023 @ 09:58 AM


Ice dams can cause a variety of damage to commercial structures from roof collapse to mold through perpetual leaks. The risks include ice hitting staff/patrons or possessions on property, sickness from exposure to mold or “grossly contaminated water”, or continual maintenance costs to find and fix a leak in the roof or ceiling.

Business structures with sloped and flat roofs both are able to pool water during the regular melt/freeze of snow in the winter. Owners can prevent ice dams by clearing leaves and other debris that can clog roof drainage systems in the fall, as well as maintaining adequate levels of insulation in the attic to prevent the roof material from heating up and melting the ice from the inside. Keeping roofing material as cold as possible will prevent thawing to occur prematurely.

The cost of lost work time due to illness from mold exposure or if a worker gets hit by a sheet of ice as they enter or exit the building makes an impact on productivity, but if you suffer a roof collapse, productivity can stop completely and restoration costs could be incurred. Not to mention the liability of an injured person on your property having a financial impact. According to property360.com article “Accounting for Ice Dams When Underwriting Property Insurance Policies”, the 2020 average “settlement from ice dam is $8,000” for interior damage only. This is for all structures, not just commercial buildings, and doesn’t include exterior restoration to the roof or property damage.

Same as at your house, if you have icicles forming at the edge of your roof or eaves on your business structure; if you can see that snow is melting high on your roof, but not at the lower portion; or if you notice new water marks or leaks inside your building on ceiling material, you may have an ice dam. Prevention through gutter cleaning, consistent maintenance, and early detection are the best ways to protect your building and business from the hazards of ice dams.

Wolgast Restoration has provided restoration services after roof collapses to several schools in Michigan and can help your business to reconstruct, clean mold, and fix leaks associated with ice dams if you have disaster strike. Keep our number on file in the event of an emergency, 888-WOLGAST. This is our 24-Hour Hotline number. We will mobilize quickly to take whatever action is needed.

Topics: Ice Dam

Does Proper Attic Ventilation Prevent Ice Dams?

Posted by Rich Droste on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 04:51 PM

Every once in a while in Michigan, we are known to get low slope roof ice dam resized 600some snow.  With our varying weather and temperatures, we are at a high risk of getting ice dams.  Below are some reasons and solutions to stop Ice Dams before they start.


1) Warm air rising to the peak of the attic.

2) Cold air at the lower part of the roof (warm air rises), especially just above the eave where the temperature is about the same as outdoor air.

3) Heavy snow coverage of the roof.  This acts as a layer of insulation, preventing heat loss, therefore it makes it warmer in the attic.

When all 3 of these conditions happen, ice dams can form quickly.  The heat at the peak of the roof causes the snow to melt and flow to the eave.  Since it is freezing at the eave, this melted water refreezes and allows the water to backup and cause ice dams.  The damage includes gutter, fascia, landscaping and water infiltration under the shingles.  Insulation can become wet, both exterior and interior wall cavities, drywall/paint damage and mold or mildew can form.  Some extreme cases can cause ceilings to collapse.


Yes it does, especially in Michigan’s climate with snow and frigid temperatures.  But, it is also needed in the summer months to keep the attic cool.

There are two main purposes of attic ventilation; to protect against damage to your structure and to reduce energy usage.

A well ventilated attic during the warmer months helps cool the attic down.  During the winter it helps to reduce moisture to keep attics dry – which prevents ice dams and mold.

On a hot summer day, the sun hits the roof, travels through the sheathing and heats up the attic space.  This heat radiates to the attic floor and into the adjacent living areas raising the temperature.  The attic floor can have temperatures as high as 140 degrees (with only 90 degrees outside).  Not only does this cost you money in trying to cool the space, but will cause damage to the roof shingles in early deterioration down the road.  This can lead to water leaks and expensive roof repair and/or replacement.

In the winter, the warm air from the living areas transfers into the attic and if it isn’t released by ventilation, it can cause problems.  This moist air hits cooler rafters, trusses and roof sheathing causing condensation in the form of frost or droplets falling on the materials, which in turn can cause mold and rotted structures.


1) Install proper attic ventilation.  The most efficient and effective systems use ridge vents and an evenly distributed layout of intake vents.

2) Install proper attic insulation.  It prevents heat loss from the living areas and diminishes the energy impact of having cold air flow through the attic.

3) If possible use waterproofing shingle underlayment (WSU) (snow & ice shield) at least 2’ above the interior wall line (would recommend 3’).  Valleys should be 3’ on each side of the valley center.


First and foremost, be safe.  Do not use an axe or ice pick as this can cause bodily injury and/or roof damage.  After a good snow fall, remove the snow off the roof with a roof rake.  Use a good rake that has wheels at the bottom of the rake to prevent roof damage. 

Our recommendation:  If it is not safe or is too hard to do, use a professional.

Topics: Water Damage, Mold, roof damage, Ice Dam