Why You Should Not Use Rock Salt on Your Roof

Rock salt is well known for its damaging effects on roads, driveways, other outdoor surfaces, and even vehicles. However, there is another time when it can do damage — when you use rock salt on your roof. Most homeowners know the dangers of snow and ice accumulation on the roof. Unfortunately, many reach for the rock salt to cut through the snow and ice. “When the snow piles high in the winter, most of us are not concerned with the harmful results of applying roof melt chemicals. Afterall, salts and roof melt chemicals are a recognized and relatively easy method to melt snow and prevent ice build-up. What is not understood is the downstream damaging impact of using salts and chemicals” (HotEdge). It is a bad idea to use rock salt on your roof for a number of important reasons:

Why You Shouldn’t Use Rock Salt on Your Roof

While it works and will remove snow and ice from your roof and prevent accumulation, it is not recommended to use rock salt on your roof. In this article, we hope to address the main reasons why rock salt is not a good way to cure ice dams:

  • It is ineffective: Rock salt can melt ice only at temperatures down to 20° F (-6.67° C). What this means in layman’s terms is it will only work if the temperature is on the ‘warm side of freezing’ or 20 to 32° F (-6.67 to 0° C).
  • It is not practical: Another disadvantage to trying to use rock salt to melt ice dams is that the typical ice dam is made of many hundreds of gallons of frozen water and can be extremely heavy. The sheer volume of snow and ice that can be on a roof that has not been cleared in a while would require too many pounds of rock salt to melt it to be truly practical.
  • It rusts nail heads: Rock salt may not damage the shingles themselves, but it can cause the nails holding your shingles to the roof to corrode. In turn, this rust can cause stains and streaks on your roof. Additionally, if they get too bad, the nails can rust through and break, thus causing your shingles to become loose and get damaged.
  • It rusts other building materials: Rock salt that you scatter along your roof will not stay there for long. As it melts, the ice and as the weather affects the salt, it will wash over the eaves and over the rest of your roofing system. It can corrode downspouts and also damage driveways and sidewalks where the melted salt ends up pooling.
  • It can damage garden plants: Once rock salt melts and mixes with water, it will drip down the roof and through the downspouts. When it pours out of the downspout and drips off the eaves of your roof, it can reach garden beds and “poison” the soil. Salt is damaging to plants and very few varieties are tolerant enough to withstand the dangerous levels that can occur when you use rock salt on your roof.
  • It can damage masonry: Melted water with rock salt mixed can drip off the roof edge and onto stone or brick masonry. Salt particles can easily get in through the porous surfaces build up quickly. The true danger is that this salt accumulation can greatly speed up the freeze-thaw damage in much the same way as it does with common concrete/asphalt driveway damage.

How to Remove Ice Dams Without Using Rock Salt

First of all, while rock salt is a bad idea, please do not use table salt as a rock salt substitute!  It has the exact same chemical composition; the only difference is that it is ground up into smaller pieces. So, the damage and risks are exactly the same as if you use rock salt on your roof.

Also, it is very risky to chip away at an ice dam with a hammer, ice pick, or shovel. There is a very high risk of losing your footing on the snow and ice and falling from the roof. Chipping away with a sharp or heavy object will likely damage your shingles, which are already brittle from the cold. Additionally, using these kinds of tools to remove snow and ice will make it easier for you to fall if you lose your balance.

It is better to try and clear off snow build up from the ground or from a short-run ladder. You can utilize a long-handled roof rake to clear snow away and prevent the thaw and refreeze that causes ice dams to form. You can also better insulate and ventilate your attic and control the temperatures inside your home to help reduce the thawing risk this winter. This can help you avoid the need to use rock salt on your roof.

In extreme cases, it is always advisable to hire a professional roofer to deal with your roofing concerns. They can get rid of the snow and ice buildup safely without risking damage to your roof, your home, or yourself. And they can get the job done without needing to use rock salt on your roof or other damaging products that can do more harm than good.

Contact Stay Dry Roofing Today

To learn more about snow and ice removal and how to prevent ice dams this winter, contact Stay Dry Roofing today. Don’t resort to risky moves like trying to use rock salt on your roof. Trust the roofing experts and get your roof ready now before the heavy snows start to fall! Call today and schedule a consultation appointment and let the Stay Dry Roofing team come to inspect your roof and develop a winter care plan that is customized for you!


commercial roofing

How to Find Commercial Roofing Experts in Indiana

The roof of any commercial building is not just a simple roof, it is rather a complex, multi-faceted system, that needs the care and attention of the best commercial roofer to ensure it lives up to its full potential. This is why it is so very important to take the time to ensure the commercial roofing experts you are working with are as good as they claim to be and as great as you think they are.

Good From the Bad

Considering the following list of traits and characteristics can be a helpful guide to help business owners ensure they are working with the best of the best when it comes to commercial roofers in Indianapolis. Here at stay Dry Roofing, we strive to embody and demonstrated all of these characteristics and traits and hope our reputation and proven track record speaks of our attitude and quality service!

General Characteristics of Good Roofers

Whether a roofing contractor works on residential or commercial roofs, you will want to look for the same characteristics in the team you choose to work with. Most commercial roofing experts will have these traits and finding someone who demonstrates each one will help you ensure you find the best commercial roofer:

  • Longevity: The roofing industry is, unfortunately, one of the industries that has earned a bad reputation thanks to scammers and con artists. The best way to avoid this is to look for longevity in the company or contractor you decide to work with.
  • Financial stability: Established roofing companies and roofing contractors should be financially stable. This is easy to check by searching the names of the contractors or the company and seeing if there are any outstanding claims or reports about them.
  • References and ratings: Check online expert resources like the Better Business Bureau and ask friends and family and co-workers you trust who they could recommend to either look into or who to avoid.
  • Communication skills: A good roofer is someone who can communicate well, especially to someone who may not be up and up with all the lingo and terms.  A good roofer is someone who takes the time to answer questions and explain things so they are understood. Reputable contractors and business will never lie or try to cut corners or deceive their customers and clients!
  • Ample insurance: One of the biggest reasons you want to work with roofing professionals rather than try to do work on your own is that contractors and roofing companies carry general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. It is essential that our chosen team have these insurances in place to cover property damage that might happen during the work and so that any employee work site injuries will not become your responsibility.

Traits of a Good Commercial Roofer

There are many roofers out there who say they can do good work and can take care of your commercial roofing system. The way to tell if someone is the commercial roofing expert they claim is to check their traits and see if what they say lines up with what they are able to deliver. So here are some of the traits that the best commercial roofers will readily demonstrate:

  • Expertise: Commercial roofing systems are complicated things- even more so than residential roofing systems. There are more types and styles as well and more materials to choose from. A good roofer will have expertise in all types of systems and styles but especially in the type of roofing you have in place. Ask for reviews and examples for past projects to ensure they are they experts they claim to be.
  • Training and certifications: A knowledgeable commercial roofer must be fully certified by a national or state-recognized authority in roofing and business construction. They must be licensed and stay up-to-date with all of the necessary training and safety regulations. Ask to see their licensing info, contractor information, and other forms and check to make sure it is all up to date and official.
  • Equipment and staff: The high-quality commercial roofing contractors that you will want to work with are the one who will have the crews and specialized equipment that will get the job done right the first time. No room for cutting corners or taking the easy way out- quality has to be first and foremost at all times!

Expert Roofing Assistance

If you are in need the commercial roofing experts who can get the job done right the first time, every time, then call Stay Dry Roofing today! We can show you how the best commercial roofers in the state can make a difference for your business- just give us a call and we will take care of the rest!

136 E Market St #1200, Ste 1200, Indianapolis, IN 46204