Ice dams cause millions of dollars of property damage across the snowbelt every year. In Minneapolis, we certainly get our share of problems, enough so that a few years ago I decided to add a sideline to my remodeling business - removing ice dams and retrofitting homes with proper air-sealing and insulation to keep them from coming back. It's proven to be a sound strategy: Although our main business is home renovation, removing ice dams has led to a lot of remodeling work. We've done 40 to 50 ice dam retrofits in the past six years and are about to start a $250,000 remodel that grew out of an ice dam job.

We make a point of presenting clients with a few solutions at different price points. For instance, one option might include sealing attic bypasses, installing spray foam insulation, and cutting in new continuous ridge venting, while a second option might be tweaking the existing roof ventilation to improve performance and adding fiberglass...

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