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What to consider if you plan on getting an ice melt for your roof

Ice on roof

If the roof of your home in Nevada needs to be cleared of snow, you may want to consider getting an ice melt. An ice melt is a de-icer, or a substance used for clearing away the ice that has built up on building exteriors and other surfaces during winter. It can be applied to surfaces in advance or on top of existing snow, and it can also be used on a variety of roof shingles.

But not all ice melts are created equal. Before you decide on which ice melt to use, consider the following factors first.


Before you buy an ice melt, find out what it's made of. If you have pets, kids, or plants near where the ice melt would be used, then avoid products with calcium chloride. Calcium chloride can cause burns on animals' paws if they step on it and can damage vegetation if not washed off quickly enough after use.

A less corrosive choice is an ice melt made of sodium chloride (rock salt). Although this de-icer does pose some risks to people and animals, it isn't as harmful to vegetation as calcium chloride. However, rock salt can cause eye and skin irritation, as well as respiratory issues if a good amount of it is inhaled.

An ice melt containing potassium chloride may be your best choice when it comes to safety, as it poses the least risk to people, animals, and vegetation. It is less harmful than calcium chloride but is more effective than sodium chloride at melting ice.


No matter what type of roofing material you have, there is bound to be some risks in using ice melts, such as staining of the roof surface. So before purchasing an ice melt for your roof, carefully review its manufacturer warranty.

Different warranties offer different degrees of coverage. Make sure that the warranty specifically spells out what kind of damage is or is not covered and how much will be paid for any repairs or clean-up costs. Some companies might even replace parts of the roof if their product is proven to have caused damage to the roof shingles.

Related article: Here’s how to safely clear your roof of snow and ice

Lowest melting point

Ice melts are not equally effective, so you’ll want to make sure that the product you buy can melt the ice on your roof. This is why you have to know the lowest melting point of your ice melt, or the lowest temperature at which it can melt snow or ice. If you use an ice melt at temperatures below its lowest melting point, it will not be effective.

Generally, ice melts can be divided into two categories based on how they melt snow. Exothermic ice melts, such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, release heat and melt ice very quickly, so they work well even at extremely low temperatures (below -32°F). On the other hand, endothermic ice melts, such as sodium chloride, need to draw some heat from their surroundings in order to dissolve ice or snow. This makes them slower than exothermic de-icers, especially in very cold environments where there’s little moisture to draw in. Because of this, they’re best suited for warmer weather conditions (above -20°F).


Budget is always a critical consideration where home maintenance is concerned. The rule of thumb is to not spend more than you have to, so always consider how much ice melts cost before choosing one.

However, upfront costs should not be your only consideration; try to see why certain ice melts are more expensive or more affordable than others. For instance, calcium chloride is one of the most expensive options, but it's also very effective at quickly getting rid of ice. This means you won't have to use much of it, saving you money.

Meanwhile, rock salt is usually slightly cheaper than calcium chloride, but its melting capabilities aren't as efficient. Potassium chloride is moderately priced, and it can melt snow or ice down to -20°F when combined with water. And like rock salt, it doesn't need to be rinsed off, making for an easy application process. Choose the ice melt that gives the best value for your money, time, and effort.

Using an ice melt is just one way to help your roof remain sturdy throughout the winter months. If you want to bolster your roof, or if you need a hand in fixing winter damage, don’t hesitate to contact D&D Roofing and Sheet Metal, Inc.. Talk to our skilled roofers today for a free estimate.