Guides and Tips

Ice Melt for Roofs: What is it and should you use it?

July 25, 2022
Ice Melt for Roofs What is it and should you use it

An ice melt is also called a roof melt tablet. No, it isn’t a piece of protective equipment like a gutter guard but a small tablet that prevents ice dams from forming on your roof.

To use it, you simply toss one up the roof every square foot. And within a short time, its formula will take effect to hinder the formation of icicles that can cause damage to various parts of your house including roofing, walls, and insulation.

Having said that, you should consider it carefully before using ice melts—they have their pros and cons. The product can be good for some homeowners but not for others, so they choose to find another solution.

Some pros are an ice melt can protect your family, roof, and car from injury or damage and is affordable, while one con is it can harm birds and other animals. Tablets that are made of rock salt can also chemically corrode your roof and shingles.

If you’d want to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of ice melts, keep reading this guide.

The Pros and Cons of Ice Melts

Let’s tackle the pros and cons of ice melts in more detail below:

Pros

  • Keeps ice dams and icicles from forming

The main function of ice melts is to prevent all sorts of ice on your roof. Be it snow, icicles, ice dams, or ice patches.

Ice melts can prevent gashes, corrosion, or damage to your roof and gutters. Furthermore, it will keep dripping ice from damaging your ceiling, outside walls, and insulation.

And so, using the product will save you from unwanted stress and exorbitant repair costs in the long run.

  • Gives you safety and peace of mind

Ice melts can make your home safer too since it prevents the ground under your roof from getting slippery.

Falling icicles and ice dams can pull shingles and gutter off along with them, and they can fall on your flowers, pets, windowsills, and car.

You can prevent both with ice melts and reduce trip hazards too.

  • It’s affordable

A box of ice melts usually contain 60 tablets and costs around $25 to $30. That should be enough to use for the entire winter.

However, ice melt products can be less or more effective based on their ingredients and your location’s climate.

Cons

  • Can potentially damage your roof and shingles

Ice melt products don’t suit all types of roofs. If you use the wrong one, it can work against your purpose of protecting the roof and its components.

Remember, use ice melt tablets made from calcium chloride if you have a shingle roof. Using those made from rock salt will damage the shingle roof.

But if your roof is predominantly made of metal, refrain from using products with sodium chloride.

  • Can kill plants

You have to be careful when choosing an ice melt. If you have a beautiful garden at home by the roof, then you must avoid products that are made of potassium or sodium chloride, as they can kill plants, trees, and shrubs, and worse, you might not notice this until springtime.

What you can do about this is to pick an ice melt that contains urea and calcium chloride. They are less harsh to animal, plant, and flower life, though make sure to scoop and remove salt whenever they drop from the roof.

  • Can harm birds and other animals

With some made from toxic and harsh chemicals, ice tablets can harm animals if they ingest or make contact with them, causing mouth ulcers, shaking, seizures, or irritation.

If you have pets in your house, we strongly recommend using roof melt tablets with magnesium chloride or urea. But although they are safer for animals, they can give them an upset stomach if accidentally consumed.

  • Requires certain conditions to work

One of the most frustrating things about using an ice melt is they have a lot of conditions to be effective. For instance, they work best at a certain temperature and they have a set of side effects.

Some can’t work effectively under 15℉, and some work in colder temperatures. Some are quick to take effect, and some take more time. Lastly, different ice melt brands have varying efficacy on thick snow piles.

And so, before you drive by the hardware store or order online, make sure you’ve taken the time to research the ice melt product best for your roof for optimal results.

More Roof Specialist Resources

You might want to repair or maintain your roof. Here are some lists that can help:

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