A Frozen Threat

Ice Dams

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When you live in an area that is prone to winter weather, damage from winter precipitation can be a hazard.

What is an ice dam?

An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, typically at the gutter or soffit point. When ice gutters form, they prevent melting snow from draining off the roof and away from the house. 

For an ice dam to form, three things must be present:

  • Snow on the roof
  • Higher sections of the roof’s external surface must be above 32°F
  • Lower roof surfaces must be below 32°F

When these factors are in play, snow will melt and the water will flow down the roof and eventually freeze – forming an ice dam.

What are the signs that I have an ice dam?

  • Your home has a history of ice dams
  • Icicles form on the edge of the roof or off the front edge of the gutter
  • Ice is coming through the soffit or forming behind the gutters
  • Water or ice appears on the exterior wall
  • Water is seeping through a door frame or window

What harm do ice dams cause?

  • Water from melting snow can seep into your house and into walls, ceilings, insulation, and other interior areas. The accumulation of ice (and having it sit there for an extended amount of time) can also cause or worsen wood rot. 
  • Ice dams can lift roof shingles up, allowing water to leak inside of your home and cause water damage.
  • Pressure and weight from the dams can pull off gutters, leading to structural damage.
  • If attic insulation gets wet, it can become ineffective, and even worse, creates the perfect environment for mold to form.

How do I prevent ice dams?

  • Have a roof inspection done to identify problem areas and make any suggested repairs.
  • Make sure all leaves and debris are removed from your gutters before winter.
  • Keep your attic cold and insulate the attic floor. Check for heat sources, including recessed lights, attic stair openings, ductwork, furnace or water-heating equipment, and bathroom vent fans that are not insulated.
  • Rake or shovel snow off of the roof before it freezes, if it is safe to do so. If you cannot do this, consider hiring someone to come and do it for you.
  • Install a water-repellent roof membrane.

If your home is prone to ice dams, it may be time to consider a roof replacement.

AmeriPro Roofing has over 18 years experience working in cold climates and we know how to manage and remediate the damage that snow and ice can cause to roofing materials. If you spot potential problems or have questions about your roof, please call us! Our highly trained professionals can assist you with all types of maintenance issues, from roof inspections and emergency roof repairs to complete roof replacements and new construction.

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