The Damage Ice Dams Do To Your Roof

Homeowners aim to feel safe and secure every winter with the condition their roof is in. Unfortunately, the thought of ice and snow collecting on the roof can be very daunting to most homeowners, because it can lead to extreme damage. With the collection of snow and ice, comes the possibility of Ice Dams forming, which can lead to expensive repairs in the long-term.

What Are Ice Dams?

Ice dams are the development of ice that builds up on the eaves of sloped roofs. When the snow collected at the peak of the roof melts, it runs down the edge and reaches the cold overhang, where it then freezes and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The ice formed (that is now gathered at the lower roofline), grows upward creating a block of ice that makes it very difficult to properly channel melting snow. As it continues to grow, a reservoir is formed behind it.  This can lead to water accumulation, and with nowhere to go (because it is unable to drain properly), it works backwards, getting up underneath the shingles.  

This build up can happen very quickly and become the bane of the roof’s existence if the trapped snow starts leaking into the house. Without drainage, the water leaks into the walls, pouring into the house. Oftentimes when this happens, the homeowner will act quickly to tackle the issue.

Are Icicles a Clear Indication of Ice Dams Forming?

With the cold temperature and regular snowfall, comes the chance of ice dams. Icicles are often present with ice dams, however ice dams can form without the appearance of large icicles. Icicles can be a sign that there’s poor roof insulation, or heat is escaping through the attic.

Prevention Methods:

One key way to prevent ice dams is to have the attic and walls well insulated. The heat that escapes through the roof creates the snow to melt, which is when it trickles down the roof, and starts to build up. Listed below are common DIY methods mentioned on the internet that can be used to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof – but not all are ideal, here’s why:

  1. Use a long-handled roof rake with wheels – This is the only safe and proven DIY Ice Dam prevention method to safely pull snow off your roof. Use light pressure to avoid causing damage to the shingles. If you’re worried about potentially damaging your roof, the Conde Roofing Team are Ice Dam experts, and are happy to help you maintain the structure of your roof.
  2. Use Calcium Chloride or an Ice Remover Product – The faster an ice melter dissolves and forms a brine solution, the quicker it will melt the ice. This is not a professionally recommended method, as the use of Calcium Chloride can damage the shingles if applied directly. One trick that many people use is filling a sock with the solution, and placing it on the roof. However, be warned, salt is highly corrosive and can damage the siding, gutters, and downspouts. Instead, stick with the De-Icer product for a more appropriate removal.
  3. Add insulation to the attic – Inadequate insulation allows the heated air of the attic to reach the roof deck and melt the snow. With the rapid changing temperatures of New England, this allows that constant “Refreezing” to accumulate into ice dams. 
  4. Ventilate the Eaves and Ridge – To allow for proper heat transference and ensure the attic remains cool. Keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves of the roof. This is often difficult to determine without the help of a professional – and the temperatures can change quickly.

What’s the damage?

The accumulation of ice and snow on the roof can severely damage the state of the roof and shingles, walls, ceiling, insulation, and overall structural integrity of the home. When part of the roof warms above 32 degrees F, the roof becomes warm enough to melt snow, whereas the edge of the roof is still frozen.

If left untreated, ice dams can tear up your gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to get backed up underneath the shingles. Eventually, the water finds cracks, and leaks through to the inside of the house.

Roof Inspection Services in New Hampshire

The best way to keep your home Ice Dam free is to hire a seasoned firm specializing in providing Ice Dam Removal services. If you have roof concerns in the winter, the best thing to do would be to assess the situation, and call in a professional to fully inspect what’s going on.

Meet the Conde Roofing Team. If you notice snow and ice build up, don’t wait for your roof to require expensive repairs, or put yourself in danger by trying to fix it yourself. Leave it to the professionals at Conde Roofing, who can help you decide which Ice Dam solution is best for your New England home. Speak with an expert from Conde Roofing Services and Schedule a consult today. They can come out to inspect your home and help you determine the best course of action.