The cold winter months is the time when many homeowners first begin noticing icicles hanging down from their eaves and water dripping from the ceilings inside their homes. The main cause of this water damage inside their homes is due to Ice Damming. It is important for property owners to recognize and deal with ice damming promptly before it causes serious damage to their home or business.
What is an “Ice Dam”?
An ice dam is a build-up of ice at the eaves that normally traps and backs-up melted water under the shingles and roofing system and into the home. Snow on the roof will eventually melt, but if the heat from the house accumulates in the attic it causes the snow closer to the roof to melt and turn into water which then travels down the roof to the gutters and freezes when it passes over the unheated eaves where there is an absence of a secondary source of heat. The water and snow remains at the eave, creating a barrier. The water that continues to flow down to the eave will hit this cold barrier, freeze and block any remaining water on the roof behind the newly formed “ice dam”.
What Causes an “Ice Dam”?
Ice dams result from three main causes:
Signs of Ice Damming on Your Roof
One of the first indicators that ice damming may be present on the roof of your home will be a large accumulation of ice at the eaves of your roof. While this may look like a beautiful winter scene, it is in fact a sign that your home may experience significant water damage as the ice dam grows.
Ice and icicles may also be present on your siding. This is an indicator that water that has pooled may have leaked through the ice dam onto the exterior of the building walls.
Although ice dams are more prevalent at the eaves, they can and will occur anywhere on the roof, especially where there is a change in roof surface temperatures. These areas require special consideration by roofers, builders and specifiers. Shingle roofs are designed to shed water, however they cannot handle high exposure to accumulated puddles. As the water continues to freeze further up the roof and the ridge of ice blocks the natural flow of water on the roof, the warmer attic space may prevent the pooled water from freezing and this water may leak into the home. Water damage inside your home and the latent damage caused when insulation gets wet and the resulting mold growth which flourishes in the warm, moist attic environment of the home are the most serious signs of ice damming.
What Precautions Need to be Taken to Prevent Ice Damming?
The most important thing a contractor can do to help homeowners with ice dam problems is to first clean the snow accumulation off of the roof and then to create areas where the trapped water can exit the roof.
Although there is no way to fully prevent ice damming, there are several preventative measures that can be taken to stop water from entering the house.
Roofing Done Right will always inform the homeowner of the potential risks of ice damming on their roofs when we preform our free onsite assessment.
Give us a call today for your free assessment. We will make sure your re-roof is well prepared for the battle against ice damming.
Roofing Done Right is a GAF Factory-Certified Master Elite® Roofing Contractor, and your BEST and SAFEST choice for roofing materials and installation in the Sudbury Region. Follow the link to get in touch with us!