How to Prevent Ice Dams and the Roof Leaks They Cause

Here we remain in the middle of one more cool Massachusetts winter months as well as like every winter season below in New England many homeowner will certainly have major issues with ice dams triggering roofing leakages and also shingle damages.

Although it might seem as though ice dams are an unstoppable force of nature, they are actually fairly avoidable. Attics and also basilica or vaulted ceiling locations that have actually been properly included into the general building envelope don’t have troubles with ice dams as well as icicles in the cold seasons. With making use of appropriate insulation and ventilation methods ice dams can be stopped cold (word play here meant).

Here a normal circumstance for the development of ice dams:

A house has a develop of snow on the roof.

The temperature exterior is below freezing.

The temperature inside the attic room is above freezing, hence raising the temperature of the roof covering itself to above freezing.

As a result of the cozy roofing, the snow in addition to it starts to thaw from the bottom up.

This dissolved snow water tries to run down and also off the roof.

As quickly as the water reaches the side of the roof covering it gets exposed to the freezing air.

The water refreezes as ice instead of snow in the gutters, if existing, and also along the sides of the roofing.

As increasingly more dissolved snow water remains to diminish the roofing it just keeps freezing behind as well as on top of the formerly iced up escape, creating a larger and larger ice dam.

So Just How Do Ice Dams Create Roofing Leaks?

The dissolved snow water doesn’t right away freeze any longer after the ice dam has actually started to take shape. When the ice dam has actually accumulated a bit it actually produces a dam that traps the rest of the water trying to run the roof covering behind it. While this trapped water will eventually freeze, it might take a while as well as throughout that time a portion of the shingles on this roofing system, behind the ice dam, are primarily immersed in water.

Now naturally your roof shingles are obviously mean to protect your residence from the weather condition i.e. rain and also snow. Nonetheless, most roofing products are not suggested to have a pond or river on top of them.

So What Can You Do To Avoid Ice Dams?

Most importantly you must identify that correct insulation and ventilation is the secret( see image on right). If we are speak about an attic room location then generally this implies that the insulation requires to add the walls of your home then over the attic flooring joists forming a suitable insulation envelope. In the attic situation only the flooring of the attic must be protected, not the underside of the roofing system!

Appropriate ventilation is likewise needed. Outdoors air requires to be able to go into the attic room so that the attic room temperature level is the same as the temperature level exterior. You achieve this ventilation with making use of gable vents, soffit vents and also a roofing ridge air vent.

In roofing systems with attic room areas listed below them it is rather simple to have a service provider that understands what they are doing to fix any kind of issues as for proper insulation and also air flow. Nonetheless, roofing system systems with a basilica ceiling listed below them that have these issues are far more of a job to fix, however they can be remedied.

In order to have actually a correctly aerated and insulated sanctuary ceiling the professional should mount baffles within each rafter bay prior to mounting the insulation. These baffles allow air to stream in between the soffit vents and the ridge vent which keeps the underside of the roof covering the same temperature as outside. If these baffles ore not set up in your cathedral ceiling after that the specialist will require to get rid of the existing sheetrock and also insulation from your ceiling in order to correctly ventilate the area. This type of project will be a lot more expensive than an attic task.

Along with the ice dam concern, if your attic is warmer than the outside temperature level you are additionally squandering great deals of cash home heating that room. So primarily you are paying extra money on your heating costs for the opportunity of growing wonderful big ice dams and also icicles that create roof leakages and damage your roofing system. Kind of makes it also worse when you think of it in this way does not it?

What Can You Do Regarding Existing Ice Dams?

If it’s the center of the winter and also you have ice dams or through previous experience you think they will be forming quickly there are some actions you can take. Firstly, if you don’t have experience climbing on a roofing system in the wintertime, particularly with snow on it, do not do it! Call a pro. What you can do is go to your regional equipment shop as well as purchase a snow rake that has an extendable manage designed to pull snow off of the initial few feet of the roof as well as effort to pull some of that snow off, from the ground, before it has a chance to thaw as well as refreeze along the roof covering sides. You can also do this when the ice dam has formed as well as maintain it from obtaining any type of bigger and also provide it a possibility to thaw, ideally.

Likewise, numerous roofing contractors, us included, work through the winter months as well as often provide roofing system snow elimination services along with their normal roof covering services. This is a solution we more than happy to offer our clients here in Massachusetts, for instance. Once again, please do not attempt as well as do this yourself. Between icy ladders as well as slippery roofing surface areas it is a recipe for calamity for the unskilled.

There are likewise some items on the market that can aid in stopping ice dams before they create as well as thawing them if they have actually already developed. You should have the ability to locate a residence improvement store in your location that offers a product that is basically a coated, heated wire that you fasten along the edges of the roofing system and then plug in when the conditions are right for the ice dams to develop (see photo on right). These really function pretty good, nevertheless, they aren’t resolving the actual trouble which, certainly, is air flow and also insulation problems. They might be right for some homes in some situations though.

Most residence improvement and equipment shops additionally sell pellets or tablets that are created to be thrown up onto the roofing system from the ground. These tablet computers after that allegedly will thaw the ice from the roofing as they liquify into the water that is running down the roof covering right into the ice dam. I have no experience with these items so I can’t claim for sure if they function as designed or otherwise. Nonetheless, some people say they have actually benefited their ice dam issues. A couple of points I would be stressed over as a roofing contractor is possible damage to the tiles from the chemicals these tablet computers are made of (salt is no good for asphalt shingles), in addition to perhaps tarnishing the roof covering with those very same chemicals. And also in a base case scenario this item is still just a band-aid for a better trouble.

Correct Roof Covering Techniques For Cold Climates

In addition to ensuring that the roofing system has proper ventilation as well as attic insulation there is an additional degree of safety versus ice dam problems and also roof covering leaks that all accountable and also ethical roofer ought to be taking in cold weather climates with regards to pitched, asphalt shingled roof coverings. When a new roofing is set up, these days, an added layer of protection called ice as well as water membrane need to be set up from the edge to a minimum of 3 feet up the roofing.

Roofing is a hard business, and it’s easy to get in over your head.

We all know that you want the best possible price when you’re getting work done on your home or office building, but sometimes these low prices come at a cost. [insert scary stories about bad roofers here]

When we started EW MacDowell Inc., we decided to do things differently than other companies. We provide free estimates for all of our services so there are no surprises later on down the road. Our team will do everything they can to make sure that you feel comfortable with every decision along the way and that you always have someone looking out for your best interest throughout this process. You’ll love working with us!

EW MacDowell Inc.
15320 Emmelman Rd, Wellington, FL 33414
(561) 277-0419

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