Winter Roofing Maintenance Tips

Ice Dams – What are they and how do I prevent them?

Winter may be almost over, but that doesn’t mean we are completely done with the cold weather. And with cold weather, comes ice dans. We’ve all heard of ice dams, but what causes them and what steps can we take to prevent damage to our roofs and homes? And if you experienced ice dams during the thick of the winter season, your gutters, roof, and even siding may have experienced some damage.  In this post, we’ll explore a few questions related to ice dams.

icicles_brick_house_tree1What is an Ice Dam? An ice dam is caused when heat escapes through your roof, causing snow to melt and refreeze, “damming” the snow and ice directly in contact with your roof. Now, when snow and ice melt, instead of draining off of your roof, it causes a “lake” of water to form above the dam. This liquid water will find the path of least resistance to drain off of your roof, which may cause the water to seep through your shingles and roof, onto the insulation in your attic or down the insides of walls. This can cause molds and mildews to grow in your attic and inside of your walls, along with structural damage from rotting wood and from joints being weakened due to the freeze/thaw cycle. You will know that you have developed an ice dam by the truly impressive icicles hanging from your eaves.

So, the question you’re probably asking yourself at this point is how do I prevent an ice dam from forming? The good news is there are two ways to prevent an ice dam. The two best ways to prevent an ice dam from forming are insulation and snow removal. If your attic is well-insulated and well-ventilated, then you have a “cold roof”, which is much less likely to allow ice dams to form since the snow against your roof shouldn’t thaw to begin with. Snow removal can be accomplished through having a roof that will quickly and easily shed its snow load (metal roof with sufficient slope) or by removing the snow from the roof using roof rakes.

WARNING: It’s dangerous to climb on a roof at any time, especially when it is covered with snow or ice. Please keep safety in mind, and hire a professional to clear your roof, as needed.

If you have an ice dam or notice some damage due to this winter’s harsh conditions, please contact us. We will be happy to come out and evaluate the situation. We’ll provide you with a free estimate you may need to prevent ice dams and help prevent any further damage to your home in the future.

Russell Roofing –  If it’s Russell, it’s Right… , Guaranteed!