Ice dams are a ridge of ice that forms along the edge of your roof during the winter typically after fairly decent snowfalls and long periods with temperatures remaining below freezing. Ice dams stop melting snow water from draining correctly off the roof into the gutters.
Contrary to popular belief, having gutters does not cause ice dams to form. Rather they are caused by poor attic insulation and ventilation. As heat escapes from the interior of your home into the attic, it heats the underside of the roof.
However, the edges of the roof are not heated up, so they remain below freezing. So, as the melting snow water drains off the roof and encounters below freezing temperatures, it refreezes into ice and starts to create an ice dam.
Once it is big enough, it then acts as a barrier. The water cannot flow off the roof, so it sits on the roof and can backup underneath roofing shingles. The water will look for small gaps, cracks and openings where it can drain away.
If it finds these underneath your shingles, then it can get into your attic and your home. It could also run down the inside of exterior support walls. In addition, if these is an excess amount of water making its way into the home, it can damage insulation, drywall, and create problems with mold and mildew.
Short Term Solutions
It is important to stress you should not get onto your roof to try to solve an ice dam problem in the middle of winter. This is best left to a professional because it can be rather dangerous. Nor should you use an ice pick to try to break up ice dams while standing on a ladder. You could potentially damage the roofing materials, fall off the ladder, or get injured from sharp pieces of ice.
The best way to deal with ice dams in the middle of winter is to use ice melt on them to keep the water flowing off the roof. You may also want to consider getting your attic insulation topped off to help reduce the number and size of ice dams on the roof.
Long Term Solutions
You will want to have the problem with ice dams corrected so that it does not continue to occur winter after winter. Otherwise, the long-term damage from ice dams could also require getting a new roof installed as the roofing underlayment can rot and eventually start to sag.
You will want to get more attic insulation installed to create a better barrier to keep warm air inside the home. You will also want to have a qualified roofing professional verify your attic has the right ventilation and get it fixed, if not.
If your home had ice dams last winter, it is never too late to stop them from occurring this winter. To have your attic insulation topped off, ventilation checked or for other roofing problems, please feel free to contact Logik Roofing at 905.424.7469 today!
“We are proud to be part of the GreenON Rebate Program, where you can earn up to $1,500 in rebates just for topping off your attic insulation!”