ice damming

Ice Damming: What It Is and How to Prevent It

If you’re a homeowner, then you know how important your roof is to protect the interior of your home. While living in an area of the country that gets heavy snow each year, you might have learned the hard way what ice damming is and why it is so important to avoid immense damage to other areas of your home. For some background for those unaware, an ice dam is a clump of ice that is created on a roof when the attic roof gets so warm that it melts the undersurface of snow. When the water trickles down between the layers of snow and the shingles, it reaches the eave of the roof that stays cold due to it reaching beyond the warm sides of the house. In fact, the flatter the pitch of the roof, the more accessible it is for the ice dams to grip onto the edge of the house.

As scary as this may seem, there are some solutions to ice dams. Some precautions you can take is to scrape snow from the roof from the ground with a snow rake or you can brush off the snow with a broom or a shovel from the top of the roof. However, these methods can also be precarious by accidentally burying yourself in snow or slipping off the roof. You can also replace about the bottom three feet or so of your shingle roof with a wide metal drip edge. Finally, it is best to install a water-repellent membrane under any new roofing to avoid any water damage to the underside of your roof. Despite all these precautions, it may not be enough compared to some over these overall, longer term solutions, such as: sealing all points in your home where warm air exposures from living spaces immediately below the roof sheathing, insulating the living spaces in your home to prevent the transmittal and distribution of heat through the ceiling, and finally ventilate the space between the insulation and roof sheathing so any heat that does leak is carried away. 

So what’s the damage if your home does create ice dams? If an ice dam gets big enough, the melted water backs up behind the ice dams, and the water will seep underneath the shingles. This will drip down into the home’s insulation, down into the ceilings, and exterior walls beneath the eave which can ruin the sheetrock and paint. When the ice dam breaks off the home, it can bring down shingles and gutters that can damage or harm shrubs, window sills, cars, pets, and even members of your household. Even worse, if the water gets underneath the shingles, this will cause mildew which leads to rot within the home. 

Needless to say, ice dams are dangerous in many different ways. You should follow these tips to protect your home and others from damage. Phoenix Exteriors knows how big of an investment a quality roof is and we don’t want that to go to waste! Protect your roof, protect your home, protect your family!


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