All About Ice Damming

One of the most common threats to roofs are ice dams, which develop during the winter season and can damage the roofing materials. This can shorten the lifespan of the structure and even lead to water damage inside of the property. To learn more about ice damming and how to prevent it with the help of roofing contractors, there are a few basic facts to understand before the winter season arrives.

Ice Dam Formation

Ice dams form when snow settles on the roof and begins to freeze when it's left on the structure for several days. They form on the ridge of roofs and can cause damage with water that becomes backed up behind the dam. Ice dams form when the surface of the roof is 32 degrees or lower.

Damage From Ice Dams

Mold and mildew are one of the most common problems to develop from ice dams due to water that enters the home. This can cause a number of health problems with the residents and lead to respiratory issues, dizziness, and fatigue. Make it a point to dry out wet portions of the home and contact a professional if water damage develops. The residents may also be required to move out of the property temporarily until the mold is completely removed by a professional Roofing Contractors such as Cherry and Clark. Look for water stains on the ceilings and inspect the insulation for moisture that may be present.

Warped floors and sagging ceilings can also be caused by ice dams and cost thousands of dollars to repair.

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams are easy to prevent during the winter months with steps that can be taken by the homeowner. It's important to keep cool air circulating in the attic, which will control the temperature of the roofing materials and will allow the snow to melt at a steady rate. Many homeowners make the mistake of using warm air in the attic, but this can cause the snow to melt too quickly. Fans and vents should be installed in the attic to promote proper ventilation and allow the snow to melt at a steady rate.

It's also important to use a roof rake to remove the snow or ice every day or two once it settles on the roof. The oldest snow should be removed first because it's prone to freezing sooner compared to fresh snow that has accumulated. Work from the bottom of the roof up and rake off a few inches of snow at a time. A push broom can also be used to remove the snow.

Long-term prevention requires that the homeowner makes the ceiling air tight to prevent warm air from flowing from the home into the attic. Extra ceiling or roof insulation can also be added to reduce the heat loss by conduction.