Winter is here and one of the most dangerous components associated with the weather and your roof is the formation of ice dams. Snowy conditions and freezing temperatures combine to create a potential hazard that could end up causing major damage to your home if not properly remedied.
Fortunately, putting the measures in place to help stop these ice dams from forming before or between snow falls is important. Once the precipitation begins to lay on the roof then it becomes too late and too dangerous a situation to address effectively. By implementing these simple steps, a homeowner can ensure that they are taking all of the appropriate measures available in order to prevent any substantial damage caused by this phenomenon.
Ice dams form when the snow melts on a roof and then water runs off the slope toward a guttering system that is used to carry water away from a home. The issue arises when this water reaches the edge or overhang of a roof - these areas are typically not insulated and have nothing underneath, therefore the surface temperature is much different than higher up the slope where the heat from a structure underneath is escaping and causing the snow to melt. Once this water runoff reaches the edge, it freezes again and with no heating method available, blocks of ice are formed which create the dams. Once in place, any excess water trickling down from the roof gets backed up behind the blockage creating a drainage issue and potentially causing damage to the roof or infiltrating the home through the added pressure and water backup.Â
While there is no guaranteed, 100-percent method to avoid the potential risk of an ice dam forming, there are ways to reduce the chance of occurence, in addition to steps to take for preparing in areas that are subject to ice dam creation.
A professional roof inspection is one means to ensure that a homeowner is ready for any potential dangers. Not only can a trained professional point out overhang or other areas which may be subject to ice dam formation, but they can also look at other areas, including shingle wear and flashing applications that could indicate the potential for any leaks.
These observations cannot simply be made from the ground and will require roof access, so scheduling these prior to the heart of winter would be beneficial for all involved parties. Clearing the roof of any leaves, limbs, or other debris which could amplify the creation of an ice dam is also a necessary step during the inspection process.
In addition, cleaning the gutters and making certain that the water has a proper exit point when it does melt and reach the edge is also critical. Any deficiencies addressed during the inspection should be remedied immediately in order to make sure your roof is prepared for the oncoming winter precipitation.
One of the easiest ways to keep ice dams from forming is to maintain a cold roof. The melting and freezing process creates the potential for danger, but a completely cool roof that matches temperatures on overhangs as well as the center keeps this from occurring.
Checking the level of insulation in your attic will help to address this particular situation. By ensuring an ample amount of insulation is available, then the heat can remain in the house underneath instead of escaping through the roof and raising the temperature in the center or midpoint, above that of the overhangs.
Measuring your insulation
and knowing how much you need are important from a heating and cooling standpoint and financial perspective. This information also allows for the prevention of ice dams when combined with proper ventilation.Â
Working hand-in-hand with proper insulation, good ventilation is also needed to maintain the cold roof and keep ice dams from forming. Exhaust fans and ventilation techniques may need to be administered in order to help prevent an ideal situation for ice dam creation.
Keeping cool, dry air flowing above the insulated surface and underneath the roof helps to keep the entire surface cold which allows for melting to take place at an even pace on the outside. Sealing any potential leaks effectively, prior to any penetration, will also serve to help prevent any damage.Â
A controversial topic, heated cables offer benefits but are not necessarily the answer for combating ice dam formations. These wires run along rooftops, often near the edges and when charged serve to melt any snow and ice which has formed above them.Â
Individual home or business owners will have to answer the question of if they should install heat cables
to prevent ice dams. Where the benefits outweigh any negatives, such as appearance and cost of the energy bill, installation may provide an answer but it is often as a last resort only.Â
All other measures should be administered before the consideration of heated cables which need to also be professionally installed. A complete roof analysis of any danger areas may also be suitable to ensure that if this is the route chosen, it is done so effectively.Â
With over a decade of experience and quality service within Denver and the surrounding area, Arvada Roofing and Construction
has been completing roof inspections, installations, remodels, repair and multiple other exterior household projects or associated services for nearly two decades. Their highly trained experts can provide an estimate on any repair, remodel, or now construction project, if needed, as well as any inspection you wish to have completed. Should you find yourself in a situation where you are concerned about the potential of ice dams forming or already have an issue, we are here to help. Our certified and extremely knowledgeable staff is available to handle any construction or roofing job and provide a variety of other services such as seamless guttering systems, or any potential damage analysis thought to be caused by severe weather for the purposes of insurance reporting. Contact us
today online or call 303-432-2753 for your free estimate on any of the above mentioned projects!