You may not have given much thought to the snowfall that accumulates around your home's chimney, but it can lead to extensive damage. These piles of snow are also known as ice dams. You may be wondering how extensive the damage can be. Here's a guide to how a chimney contractor can help prevent or mitigate the damage. 

What Is An Ice Dam? 

An ice dam occurs when snowfall builds up at the base of your chimney, or the point where the chimney connects to the roof of your home. Certain architectural details make some chimneys more prone to developing ice dams than others. For example, chimneys that have been set into the roof at a point below the roof line are more at risk for ice dam development because they prevent melting snow from running off the roof. In addition to the architecture of the roof, several different conditions can make ice dam formation more likely, such as if the chimney has metal flashing or if the heat generated in the home emits through the chimney's exterior. A chimney contractor can accurately identify these risk factors, along with the signs of existing ice dams.

How Ice Dams Affect Your Chimney

Water can enter the structure of your chimney in a couple of different ways. First, bricks have a naturally porous surface that absorbs water. If the bricks or the connecting motor joints crack, it further exacerbates water infiltration. 

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As water in the form of snowfall freezes, it expands, which places a significant amount of pressure on the bricks and the surrounding structures. This pressure causes the cracks already present in the bricks to enlarge. As this process occurs, the flashing separates from the bricks. Over time, the bricks' structure deteriorates, placing your chimney at the risk of collapsing. 

How a Chimney Contractor Can Help

The best way to mitigate damage from an ice dam is to stop it in its tracks. Annual inspections by a chimney contractor should be a top priority. These qualified professionals can spot the early indicators of ice dams and recommend the next steps to resolve the issue.

Installing an additional layer of insulation to the walls and roof of the attic is a technique used by chimney contractors to prevent ice damns from forming. Measures like these, together with regularly conducted inspections, will help keep your chimney in solid condition for many years. 


The contractors at American Masonry & Chimney Corp in Rochester, NY, leverage a combined 50 years of experience to perform high quality work on chimneys. These professionals provide a wide range of services, ranging from regular inspections to emergency repairs. Get an estimate by speaking with a team member at (585) 865-4170 or learn more about their services online