Ice Damming on Roofs

When you live in the colder parts of the country where it snows a lot during winter, an ice dam is a common occurrence. In the Midwest, we all have experienced the freezing winters and ridiculous snowstorms. This cold weather is detrimental to your roof and gutters. 

You may have never heard of an ice dam before, but they are chunks of ice that form on the edge of a roof and in your gutter. When the ice forms it is not an issue, but when the roof surface reaches 32 degrees or higher, some of this ice will start to melt. This pool of water is now trapped behind a wall of ice with nowhere to go. It will eventually seep into the underside of your roof. The water can leak onto your roof deck and down to your ceiling and walls. This will cause major interior and exterior damage. 

Your roof can reach warmer temperatures even when it is below freezing outside. While you are trying to keep your living space warm and comfortable, your attic becomes a tremendous heat source for your roof. Making sure that your roof is properly insulated can help prevent this from occurring. Here are some ways to identify an ice dam on your roof.

Check for Water Stains 

Water that is getting through your roof will leak onto your ceilings and around your windows and door frames. Look for the telltale brown staining in these areas. Moisture in your attic is also a sign that water is not flowing off your roof properly.

Examine Your Exterior Walls for Hanging Icicles 

If you have icicles that are stuck to your gutters, check to see if there is water trapped behind them. If there is not, then you most likely do not have ice dams. Do not attempt to loosen the icicles yourself, especially not while standing directly under them, as this can be very dangerous for you and bad for your gutters.

Keep Gutters Clear 

Regular cleaning from a trained professional is the best way to avoid ice dams. When the water in your gutters has nowhere to go, that’s when it starts to build up, get trapped, and cause leaks. Make sure to try to clean out your gutters before it gets extremely frigid outside. 

Ensure Your Roof Is Properly Insulated  

Checking that your attic is well insulated and adding more ventilation for the warm air to escape is another way to stop ice dams. It is recommended to have 12 to 14 inches of cellulose or fiberglass. If you have less than that, you should add more. Also, if you have recessed lights in your attic or on your exterior soffits, try to use these minimally. Recessed lighting gives off a great deal of heat. 

Contact Frederic Roofing!

Call Frederic Roofing to safely inspect and clean your roof and gutters. We are more than happy to take preventive steps to protect your gutters before ice dams can form. We are always here to fix any damage to your roofing, whether it be related to ice dams or something else, and we can answer any questions or concerns you may have about your roof.

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