Boston roofer gives advice for removing ice
Who can I contact about removing icicles and ice from gutters?
— Sylvia Osterday, Angie's list member
“Don’t try to loosen an ice dam on your own,” warns Bob O’Sullivan, owner of highly rated Ranch Roofing & Renovations. “You don’t want to damage the gutters, or yourself.”
O’Sullivan, whose business is based in Arlington, Mass., but services the Boston area, encourages homeowners to call a roofer before they pick up a hammer and start pounding. When homeowners chip away at ice dams with sledgehammers or hatchets, they may damage their roof by penetrating shingles, or worse, says Mike Cortner, owner of highly rated Westford-based Express Roofing, which also services the Boston area. “When I have evaluated such jobs, it looks as if someone was chopping wood on the roof,” Cortner says.
Instead, Cortner recommends buying an aluminum snow rake from the local hardware store to brush off excess snow from low-pitched ranch roofs. Another option, he says, is to call a licensed electrician to run a heat cable up your gutter to melt the snow. “You should start the process as the first snow falls,” Cortner says. “It’s a way to cut down on ice dams, but it’s not a guarantee.”
O’Sullivan also believes an ice shield on a shingled roof may help prevent build-up. If you’re especially worried about bad weather, he suggests buying a flat rubber roof, which is the only roofing material known to protect against ice dams.