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Question DetailsAsked on 7/26/2015

what do you call metal edging put on a roof to stop ice dams forming

people down east (maine) put metal edges on their roofs to prevent ice dams/icecicles forming. it works. what do you call this?

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4 Answers


The stuff that dreams are made of,, there is no such product. Flashing or gutter apron goes under the roofing and over the gutter but it is an L shaped product that does nothing to eliminate ice or ice dams. Ice dams are created when melting snow flows over an uninsulated overhang on a home and refreezes. It is most commonly a problem of poorly insulated attics or poorly ventilated attics.

Jim Casper Gutter & Gutter Cover Contractor

ps for ideas on gutters and covers see my blogs


Answered 5 years ago by jccasper


I had this done on my last house - a 1760 farmhouse, and I can't say much for the insulation, but it worked, beautifully. Never had another problem. There were jack-of-all-trades types in the area, one of them did the work for me, but this was a while back.

Answered 5 years ago by countrylibrarian


Ice damming is caused by improper attic ventilation, insulation, and/or air sealing. Addressing those issues is the only way to prevent the problem.

You can protect against it by installing Ice and Water Shield in the valley areas and on the eaves of your home. Proper installation on the eaves will have the Ice and Water Sheild cover the roof decking up to the point that it is 16 inches inside the exterior wall of the home.

Answered 5 years ago by KnowledgeBase


These are generally called ice edges or similar names - three basic types. Here is a short article on the common alternatives (not including hot water/hot air systems, which are generally only for commercial use where the hot air/water is "free" from a large generator or industrial process) -

1) a metal basically extended dripedge which is black rubber-coated on both faces on the part the hangs down below the roof, bare metal where it underlies the roofing. Works by the black exposed part absorbing sunlight and heating the metal (rubber on back is for insulation), then conducting the heat to the ice on the roof edge. Basically an icicle melter - does little for glaciering or ice damming though it can provide a melted edge for ice dam drainage with minor ice damming only a few inches up the roof. Basically for areas with only nominal cold and good winter sun to melt off occasional damming and overnight icicling before it builds up to a significant thickness, and of course only works on sunny sides of the house.

2) integral solar heating panels, which have embedded wiring in the edge strip and run off solar panels mounted at the ends of the roof. Similar to above in effectiveness except a lot better in strong sunlight and also work somewhat on cloudy days. Also work only in sunlit areas though solar panels can be remote from the strip so you can melt shady side roofs, but low power so again for daily melting of minor icing, not treatment of long-term major icing from snowmelt or ice damming extending up the roof.

3) what you are probably talking about - powered (this is what threw the other responders for a loop, saying it does not exist) ice edge - which is ice edge strips that either have embedded thaw wires, or types that have grooves that take thaw cable. Made by companies like Summit Ice Edge, Hot Edge, Bylin (Pentair - more use for commercial applications) RIM edging, and others. Basically just thaw cables embedded in metal plate so the heat is uniformly distributed instead of being concentrated at the wires.

Roofer is the right person to call for install for all three types, though almost certain to require an electrician (direct by you or subcontracted by the roofer - they are likely to ask you to get it done), to put in necessary electrical supply for the powered versions. The normal zigzag thaw cables and option 1 above commonly run $20-40/LF installed - the powered panels commonly more like $50-70/LF, ballpark.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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