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Ice Dams: Stop Them in Their Tracks

From the Rooftop Blog

Metropolitan Roof's From The Rooftop Blog keeps you up to speed on how to choose and maintain the best roof for your home or business.

 

Ice Dams: Stop Them in Their Tracks

Kathleen Finn

Ice dams are a stealthy enemy of your roof. Look out for this quiet menace that can wreak havoc on your roof and inside your house. An ice dam is created when heat escapes through the roof from the attic and melts the bottom layer of snow that frosts your roof in winter. Heat that collects in the attic warms the roof but only up to the eave line. At this juncture, the melting snow transforms into a stubborn dam that keeps additional water from flowing off your roof.

Why should you care? The constant moisture that the dams lock in affects frame members, roof shingles, soffits and sheathing by leading to rot. If your insulation takes on water, it can become compacted and ineffective. Shingles can loosen, gutters can get torn off and water can back up into the house causing mold and mildew. Ice dams can happen with as little as 1” of snow coupled with sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period.

To prevent ice dams, you need to warm your roof:

  • Beef up the insulation in your attic.
  • Couple that with lots of circulating air in the attic. Good ventilation carries heat and moisture to the outside.
  • Make sure to plug up any air leaks by adding flashing around chimneys, sealing and insulating ducts, and caulking penetrations around electrical cables and vent pipes, with sealant.

Give us a call if you are battling ice dams. We can help you with preventive maintenance.