Ice dams may look pretty but they can do some serious damage to your roofing system and your home. Ice dams form when snow builds up on a roof with improper insulation. When you have a warm roof but cold eaves, the snow can begin to melt near the ridge of the roof where hot air will rise to first. This melted snow then begins to run down the roof below the accumulated snow. When it finally reaches the eaves which have not been warmed by the attic’s warmer air the water freezes again and creates the long icicles before the formation of the ice dam, which may appear hidden entirely below the blanket of snow.
The higher the ice dam grows, the more water will get backed up behind it. With nowhere to go, it will eventually seep under the shingles, roofing felt, roofing deck joints, and finally, into your home causing water damage, costly repairs, and the potential for mold growth.
So, what is the best way to prevent ice dams from forming? Having adequate air circulation and insulation in the rafters and ceiling joists in the attic help minimize the amount of warm air that reaches the roof. It is important for air to be able to circulate efficiently throughout the attic. This can best be achieved with continuous ridge vents or roof vents. Another option is fans on thermostats mounted at openings with screens on gable end roofs to allow for the warm air to escape.
Investing in a roof rake to remove the snow from your roof will also go a long way in preventing ice dams. Roof rakes are specifically designed to remove snow without damaging roof shingles or gutters.
Impermeable water and ice membranes under roofing material is another great way to ward off ice dams. For best results, they should extend from the edge of the eaves to a minimum of two feet past the perimeter wall line. It will bond to the roof deck with its adhesive side and any nails that are driven through it will also be sealed to avoid leaks.
If your Howard County, MD home or business is being plagued with ice dams, give us a call today at 1-800-673-3034 for a free inspection and we will determine the best solution for your property’s unique needs and get the results you want to protect your investment.