How Much Does Ice Dam Removal Cost?
$400 - $4,000
$400 - $4,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Published March 11, 2022Written by HomeAdvisor.
Ice dams are large masses of ice that form during the winter months and stick to roofs, forming on eaves and edges. They prevent snow from melting and running off and, left unaddressed, contribute to structural damage to your home.
Hiring a local snow and ice removal expert to remove ice dams costs an average of $1,200, and this price fluctuates according to a number of factors. On the low end, you’ll pay $400, and on the high end, you’ll pay as much as $4,000 for complete removal.
Estimating ice dam removal costs depends on a number of factors, including the overall size of your roof, the complexity of the job, and the methods used for removal.
Your roof size as measured by your overall square footage and the height of your home are primary cost factors here, as bigger roofs translate to increased labor needs.
|Single-story, 1,000 Square feet||$400 – $600|
|Two-story, 1,000 square feet||$500 – $700|
|Single-story, 1,500 square feet||$600 – $800|
|Two-story, 1,500 square feet||$1,000 – $1,400|
|Multi-story, over 1,500 square feet||$2,000 – $4,000|
There are several ice dam removal methods pros employ to complete the job. These methods vary in cost and efficacy, with some useful only in certain scenarios.
Ice Dam Salt: When hiring a professional snow removal company, they often employ salt to melt away the snow. The same goes for ice dams. Calcium chloride and potassium chloride are commonly used in conjunction with other ice dam removal methods at a cost of $100 to $150 per hour, including materials and labor. It takes approximately two hours for a successful application.
Roof Melt Tablets: Applying roof melt tablets to remove ice dams also costs $100 to $150 per hour, materials and labor included. If your dams are easily-accessible, a pro tosses the tablets on the roof and avoids using a ladder, saving time and labor costs. All told, the application process takes one to two hours. These tablets are highly effective for smaller ice dams.
High-Pressure Water: This highly effective method costs $200 to $400 per hour, as pros use specialized equipment. The process takes two to five hours but results in the complete removal of both snow and ice from the roof. Potential drawbacks include tile and slate damage and leaks to unsealed roofs.
Steam: This is the most expensive method, at $400 to $600 per hour, but excels with removing the largest of ice dam chunks. Though boasting an expensive hourly rate, the whole process is quick, taking two or three hours.
Physical Chipping: Pros go in with hammers, mallets, and chisels to chip ice dams away from your roof. This removal method costs $200 to $300 per hour and takes four to six hours to complete. Contractors avoid chipping unless absolutely necessary, as it risks damaging the roof and is dangerous for the pro.
Some risk factors increase or otherwise impact the overall cost of ice dam removal.
Heavy Snowfall: Pros rake snow from a roof before removing ice dams. In other words, larger roofs with heavier snowfall take longer, adding to the length of the project by an hour or so.
Steep-Pitched Roofs: Steeply pitched roofs offer increased risk for the pro. To minimize the danger of physical harm, they’ll go slowly and carefully, adding anywhere from one to two hours of labor costs to your final price tag.
Obstacles: If your roof features obstacles like large tree branches or chunks of debris, the pro removes them ahead of time, adding to your overall cost.
Cold Weather: Location impacts the final cost, as colder weather slows down the removal process significantly.
Fragile Roof Types: Certain roof types, such as glass and slate, are fragile, forcing the contractor to work with increased care. This, obviously, increases your labor costs by one to two hours.
Ice dam removal specialists are highly experienced and used to working in dangerous, slippery conditions. They charge $100 to $600 per hour for labor with most contractors charging a two-hour minimum, even if the job takes less than that. All told, labor accounts for around 90 percent of your total bill for these jobs, as material costs are negligible.
Certain additional factors impact the overall cost of ice dam removal, as this job often pairs with related procedures.
Generally speaking, removing snow from a roof costs $250 to $500. As previously stated, pros remove excess snow before working on the ice dams. In many cases, this cost is part of your overall project cost. In the case of severe snowfall, however, you’ll pay extra.
Ice dams damage roofs over time, and the total cost to repair these structural issues ranges from $300 to $1,500, depending on the severity. Small jobs like replacing some shingles or repairing the gutter fall on the lower end of this spectrum, while severe cases of roof erosion and damaged downspouts fall on the higher end.
The process takes an hour or so and, as such, adds $100 to $400 to your total bill. Ice easily builds up in your gutters and pros remove it along with the ice dams for an added cost. Removing ice from a gutter is relatively simple, involving a snow rake, hot water, deicer, or melting tablets.
Preventing ice dams is cheaper than removing them. Here are the various ways to prevent them from forming again once you’ve called in a pro for removal.
Roof Heating Cables: Laying down roof heating cables is a great way to minimize the formation of ice dams. They cost $50 to $100 or $5 per linear foot, with more expensive models featuring sensors that power the cables on when temperatures drop below freezing.
Capping Roof Access Hatches: An unsealed roof access helps create the dreaded freeze/thaw cycle, as hot air escapes your home, leading to ice dams. Pros cap off these roof access hatches at a cost of $50 to $100 per hour.
Cleaning and Clearing Gutters: Prevent ice formation in the first place by keeping your gutters cleaned and cleared. Pros charge $150 to $225 for this service.
Installing Roof Ridge System: Not all homes feature roof ridge rents. Hire a pro to install ridge vents to enhance ventilation and minimize ice dam formation, at a cost of $300 to $550.
This is dangerous work best left to the professionals in the vast majority of cases. If you have a small roof, however, and the ice dams stick to the edges, tossing up melting tablets is DIY-friendly. Otherwise, call in a qualified technician.
Start with customer reviews. Spend some time checking out customer reviews on various social media sites and via the company’s official webpage. Next, head to the Better Business Bureau’s company database to look for any red flags. Finally, give them a call and ask about their hourly rate, experience level, and client testimonials. For ice dam removal, experience matters, so err on the side of caution and choose a company with plenty of experience.
Give your pro the approximate size of your roof and the total square footage of your home. You should also give them a rough estimation regarding the severity of ice dam formation and any information regarding roof access. If asked, give them a general outline of your daily routine for scheduling purposes. Finally, ask them for a repair estimate and a removal time frame.
Ice dams are a culprit in a wide range of roof damage types, including attic condensation, broken roof sheathing, various roof leaks, wall water stains, moldy attic insulation, sagging drywall, attic framing rot, and total roof collapse. Ice dams don’t always contribute to roof damage, but the danger is real.