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FAQs about Ice Dams and Ice Dam Steaming

Posted in Ice dam steaming, Total Home Exteriors.

It’s still winter, and that means ice dams are a problem for a lot of homes in this area. Total Home Exteriors specializes in ice dam steaming in Minneapolis, and we often hear the same questions about ice dam steaming and the problems ice dams can cause. Here are a few common questions and our answers.

Q: What kind of problems can ice dams cause, and where do they usually form?

A: Ice dams can cause a variety of problems for the exterior and interior of your home. They can cause your roof to leak, which then, in turn, seeps down into your home’s ceilings and walls. That can cause mold and mildew to form, which can cause health problems for you and your family. Ice dams can cause problems with your gutters too.

Most of the time, ice dams form on the lowest edge of your roof.

Q: Are my gutters part of the problem?

A: No. While gutters can be affected by ice dams, they are not the reason ice dams form. Professional ice dam steaming can help your gutters by getting rid of the ice that can cause the gutters to break.

Q: What impact does insulation have on the formation of ice dams?

A: A great deal! Not enough insulation or improperly installed insulation can definitely contribute to ice dams. Insulation helps with proper ventilation, and proper ventilation can help prevent ice dams and the need for ice dam steaming. If heat is leaking out of your roof, it causes the snow and ice on your roof to melt. The melting snow and ice drip down into your gutters, where it refreezes and causes ice dams to form.

Q: Why should I call you for ice dam steaming?

A: Ice dam steaming needs to be done right the first time, otherwise you risk damaging your roof and your gutters, not to mention injury to yourself or others. We have the right tool to get the job done: a special steamer that is just for ice dam steaming. If you use a chisel, hammer, axe or power washer, you run the risk of damaging your roof and gutters or hurting yourself.

Q: My gutters only have a small ice dam in them. Can’t I just let the ice dam melt on its own?

A: Even if the ice dam is as small as one inch thick, it can still cause a host of problems, especially if you have a lower pitched roof.

Do you need ice dam steaming in Minneapolis? Call Total Home Exteriors at 612-388-7795 or you can contact us to get a Free Estimate.

Don’t Try This at Home: What Not To Do to Remove Ice Dams

Posted in Ice dam steaming.

When ice dams form in your gutters, you might be tempted to go outside, climb a ladder and try to break up the ice with an axe or another sharp tool. However, this can end up doing far more harm than good. And not just to your gutters and roof, but to your own personal safety and well-being too. You should call a company like Total Home Exteriors for ice dam steaming in Minnesota. In the meantime, here are a few ways you should not attempt to break up ice dams.


If you use an axe instead of calling us for ice dam steaming, you might be thinking you will save some money. However, this is one of the most dangerous ways to remove an ice dam. Not only is the axe sharp and cumbersome, but you could do some major damage to your gutters and roof. Plus, ice can fly into your face and hurt you. And if the surface under your ladder is icy, you could risk falling and hurting yourself or worse. Professional ice dam steaming eliminates the risk of hurting yourself by falling off the ladder.

Roof Tablets (Melts)

Sure, you could also go to the store and buy roof tablets. The instructions will probably tell you to take the tablets and toss a few onto your roof, and they will melt the ice and get rid of the ice dam. First of all, tossing these tablets onto your roof can be difficult depending on how tall your roof is (and how good your aim is!). They will also slide into one location depending on the slope of your roof too. You also need to use a lot of tablets for them to be even slightly effective. Calling on us for ice dam steaming means you won’t have to worry about where the roof tablets are placed and whether or not they are working.

Pantyhose Filled with Salt

The idea here is to take a pair of old pantyhose, fill them with rock salt or another type of de-icer and then put them in your gutter and leave them there all winter. The salt will, in theory, leak out of the pantyhose and create channels for water to drain through, which will prevent the water from leaking into your home. However, if your area experiences more than just a few days of below-freezing temperatures, this is ineffective.

Clearly, ice dam steaming by professionals like us is your best bet!

So when you need ice dam steaming in Minnesota, call Total Home Exteriors at 612-388-7795 or you can contact us for a Free Estimate.

The Benefits of Ice Dam Steaming

Posted in Ice dam steaming.

This time of year, ice dams can be a huge issue if you’re not careful and don’t know how to prevent them. There are several advantages of having a company like Total Home Exteriors remove any ice dams that might have formed in your gutters. Here are a few reasons you should hire professionals like us. We are experts at ice dam steaming in the Twin Cities.

  • Professionals like us will know the safest way to access your roof. We will know how to safely walk on your roof, if need be, or we will know how to safely climb a ladder to get to your gutters.
  • Total Home Exteriors also has all of the tools needed for the safe removal of ice dams. We will use a steamer, not a power washer, for ice dam steaming. The distinction between these two types of tools is important. A steamer is a better tool for ice dam removal. We will never use an ice pick, hammer or ax for this type of job because those tools are unsafe for this kind of job. And a pressure washer will damage your roof. That is why we always use a steamer that is specially designed for this kind of work.
  • Our technicians here are fully trained in ice dam steaming. So we won’t just do it safely – we will also do it efficiently so the work is done in as little time as possible.
  • We can take care of ice dam steaming so you don’t have to. That way, you can stay nice and safe on the ground while we handle the ice dam steaming. You won’t put yourself at risk of injury or worse. Just hire us and let us handle it!

Ice dams can be prevented. The main way to prevent them from forming is to make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. When your roof is warm in the middle and cold on the edges, that is how ice dams form. The snow melts and turns into water. Then that water runs down off of your roof and into your gutters. There, it refreezes into ice and causes a blockage. Then any other water backs up onto your roof, which can cause it to leak. It’s a vicious cycle and the only way to get rid of those ice dams is through ice dam steaming.

So when you need ice dam steaming in the Twin Cities, call Total Home Exteriors at 612-388-7795 or you can contact us and get a Free Estimate.

Winter Hazards: Do You Know What to Look for?

Posted in Ice dam steaming.

Winter is coming, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (and several other federal government agencies and non-profit organizations) is sponsoring its annual Winter Hazard Awareness Week from November 10 through November 14. Tuesday, November 11, is Outdoor Winter Safety day. Here are a few of our favorite tips.

  • Remember that there is no such thing as safe ice. You cannot judge how safe ice on a pond or other body of water is just by looking at it. The only safe place to ice skate is an ice skating rink.
  • Make sure your driveway and sidewalks are shoveled after every storm, but try not to overdo it and take on more than you can handle. You risk serious injury or worse!
  • If you notice that your roof is leaking, it is imperative that you call on roofing experts like us right away. Ice dams easily form during the winter, especially after a bad storm, so hiring professionals like us for ice dam steaming means the ice dams will be safely removed without causing further damage to your roof and gutters and without the risk of injury to you or another member of your family. Dealing with the problem now could save you a bundle of money and hassle in the long run!
  • Make sure you know the signs of frost bite and hypothermia. Signs of frost bite include tingling, burning, numbness, itching or cold sensations in the areas that are being affected. Signs of hypothermia include confusion, sleepiness, shivering, weakness and drowsiness. These can affect you no matter what you are doing outside if the temperatures are cold enough.

Are you in need of ice dam steaming or other home exterior services? Call Total Home Exteriors at 612-388-7795 or you can Contact Us.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Posted in Ice dam steaming.

One of the many home exterior services we offer is ice dam steaming. Minnesota winters are notoriously cold, snowy and harsh, so this service is a necessity in this type of climate. We are often asked how ice dams are formed and what people can do to prevent them.

Ice Dam Formation

Ice dams form when the snow from the top of your roof melts and the water that’s created freezes on the bottom part of the roof and in the gutters. Because the top of the roof is warmer, the snow can quickly melt off of it, but when the water hits the eves and gutters, which are much colder, it will refreeze making it impossible to drain properly.

If you don’t get ice dam steaming done as soon as possible after this happens, it can cause your roof and windows to leak. And this doesn’t just mean you’ll have to deal with a leaky roof. It can also lead to mold, insects and other similar problems.

Ice Dam Prevention

So what can you do to prevent ice dams from forming? The best thing to try is to keep your entire roof at the same temperature – above freezing. You can increase the ventilation in your home, add insulation and seal as many air leaks as possible.

You should also make sure your attic hatch or whole-house fan are covered with weatherstrip caps. Make sure all ducts lead outdoors through either the roof or the walls. The ducts should never lead through the soffit.

Also, the ducts should be sealed and insulated. You can do this by spreading fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of exhaust and HVAC ducts. They should then be covered entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-laced fiberglass.

Taking these steps can help you avoid ice dam steaming.

Do you need ice dam steaming in Minnesota? Call Total Home Exteriors at 612-388-7795 or get a Free Estimate.

Try to top your neighbors for the holidays.

Posted in Roofing.

No, we’re not talking about having the most Christmas lights per square foot on your roof-top…but you’re getting warmer. You see, the roof on your home needs to be fully functional and intact this time of year not only for your family’s safety, but for yours. We’re saying talk to your best known Ramsey MN roofing contractors to make sure you have the safest roof possible before putting up that plastic 20 foot Santa (complete with reindeer).

But in all seriousness, your roof is your Ramsey MN home’s first line of defense against storm damage and other attacks. Another year has flown by and it’s the holiday season again. That’s one more year of exposure to the harsh Ramsey MN wind and winter that roofing contractors dread.

Other potential hazards:

  • Ice/snow
  • Wind
  • Hail (especially in MN towns like Ramsey)
  • 300 lb Santa Claus

It’s part of living in Ramsey MN: you have to get used to the hail and the wind. And this means your home unfortunately will sometimes take a beating. Your roof will take the brunt of this damage, being affected heavily by storm damage.

The Ramsey MN roofing contractors at Total Home Exteriors are no strangers to these and offer the best protection in the Ramsey MN area for your roofing contractor needs. Protecting your home is the primary concern of our roofing contractors on staff, and we do safeguard against every precaution from the tear-off process until every shingle is nailed.

Unlike Santa, our team of roofing contractors will clean up the mess made, and will leave your Ramsey MN home as if we were never there (no footprints or missing cookies). The only evidence of our roofing contractors being on your property will be the gift we leave behind of a beautiful roof that will last you for years to come. To send us your roofing contractor wish-list contact us at 612-388-7795 or fill out our free estimate form.

No Time Like the Present for New Siding for your Ramsey Home

Posted in Siding, Total Home Exteriors.

Winter is coming and will be here before you know it. So if you have any home improvement projects that you’ve been putting off in your Ramsey, Minnesota, home, it’s time to get started and get them done by the time Old Man Winter makes his appearance. One of the best things to get crossed off your list as soon as possible is getting new siding on your house. New siding can help insulate your house and make it more energy-efficient, which is great considering the average temperature in Minnesota during the winter is between 6 and 16 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where you live. So if you hurry up and schedule your appointment to get new siding on your house now, you can start to save money before the worst of the cold weather hits. Total Home Exteriors can help you get started.

This is a chore that you can’t put off because installing new siding on a house during the winter can actually be a pretty dangerous undertaking. High winds and high snowfall can complicate the process: gusts of wind can catch the siding and pull it up in the air and high snowfall totals mean getting access to your house can be tricky, if not outright impossible. The cold weather also means that the installation process could take longer. The siding needs to be put on in smaller sections. This helps minimize the cold air that hits your home and its exposure to the elements, but it also means that a project that would normally take two weeks could take much more time than that.

If you’re ready to take care of this chore so it’s all taken care of before winter hits, call us here at Total Home Exteriors at (612) 388-7795 or visit our free estimate page. We service Ramsey, Minnesota, and the surrounding areas.

Repair or Install New Siding Before Winter

Posted in Siding.

Winter in Minnesota is cold. Really cold. If you’ve lived her for any amount of time, you know the weather gets really, really, really cold in the winter time. It can be unpleasant, especially if you’re having any work done on your home.

You probably hear all the time you need to get your exterior work, like roofing or siding installation or repair, figured out in the spring or summer. While this advice is not limited to just Minnesota, it especially holds true here because, as anyone who lives in the Twin Cities metro, like Ramsey, Andover or Big Lake, knows the winter here can be downright frigid.

While fall is chilly, it still allows exterior work to be done. So, if you need work done on your roof or siding, now’s the time to have it done before winter rolls into our area. So, get in touch with the Total Home Exteriors team now before the weather outside is frightful.

If summer took a toll on the outside of your home with hail or other storm damage, we can repair it before winter shows up and causes more issues. Or, if you’ve been having lingering issues for some time, we can also help to alleviate that.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to fix the exterior of your home. Call Total Home Exteriors now at 612-388-7795 or Request a Free Estimate.

Roofing Contractors: Repair After Hail Damage

Posted in Total Home Exteriors.

As a resident of Ramsey MN, we’re sure you are no stranger to hailstorms or the hail damage that comes with them. Do you know the difference between damage that can wait and damage that needs immediate attention? That’s where we come in! Our team of Ramsey MN roofing contractors is among the best in the business. When you contact us after a hailstorm, we will be able to provide you with a free storm damage estimate. From there, we’ll make the repairs you need. In this blog, we’re going to cover some damage that will require immediate attention.

Damages Requiring Immediate Attention

There is a difference between a small hailstorm, resulting in little damage, and major hail damage. If you experienced large hail during a hailstorm, it’s probably a good idea to have your roof inspected either way. But, there are some things to watch out for after a hail storm that may be signs your roof is in need of some immediate attention.

  • Broken skylights
  • Missing shingles
  • Cracks or leaks
  • Fallen debris
  • Excessive denting

If you notice any of the items above, or anything else out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re available 24/7 for emergency situations.

Insurance Claims

Working with your insurance company can be a less than pleasant experience. We’ve heard all types of horror stories. If you have hail damage, let us take care of everything. We will provide you with a free consultation and from there handle all engagements with your insurance adjuster. We are looking out for you. We will analyze the extent of the damage and recommend the necessary repairs, making sure you get the payment you deserve.

In need of a roofing contractor after storm damage? Give us a call at 612-388-7795 or contact us online.

Total Home Exteriors

Posted in Total Home Exteriors.

As a locally owned and operated business in the Andover, MN metro, we at Total Home Exteriors have always prided ourselves on our work, and illustrating why we’re one of the area’s top companies for Total Home Exteriors.

Because of the pride we take in our work, we’re happy to today launch our blog. It will be frequently updated with information on exterior contracting. We will also use this blog to showcase projects – past and present – the Total Home Exteriors staff has worked so very hard on.

Not familiar with Total Home Exteriors? Please visit our home page to learn more about our company and services, or if you’re looking around at different Andover, MN contracting companies. We look forward to working with you!