What Are Ice Dams, and How Can I Combat Them?

What Are Ice Dams, and How Can I Combat Them?

March 28, 2019

Ice dams occur when the warm air escaping your home collides with freezing outdoor temperatures and snow cover, and their formation can lead to major damage for both your roof and your home as a whole. Fortunately, your local provider of roof repairs in Traverse City, MI is here to tell you a little bit more about ice dam anatomy, and what you can do to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place.

What exactly is an ice dam?

Warm air may be escaping through your roof for a number of different reasons, but this is most commonly caused by heat loss due to air leakage somewhere in your attic. By way of conduction, this warm air moves through the surface of the slanted section of your roof, causing the snow in this area to melt. The water from the melted snow will begin flowing downward towards the portion of your roof that is still below 32 degrees, where it will freeze again, creating an ice dam on the edge of the roof.

Once this ice dam develops, the water behind it will no longer be able to drain from the roof and will remain in liquid form because it is resting on the warmer sections of the roof. After too long, this water will eventually begin finding its way into the house through cracks and other openings in your attic, creating leaks in your home’s ceilings and walls that could potentially lead to a slew of structural problems. If the leaking has gotten out of control and you need to take immediate action, you can make a channel for the water to escape through the dam off of your roof. This solution is only temporary, however, and long-term action will be needed to prevent ice dams from forming in the future.

Hot to prevent ice dam formation

In order to prevent ice dams from forming, the warm air transfer will need to be cut off, which can be done in a couple of different ways. Increasing the amount of insulation on the ceiling and roof and making sure that your attic is airtight will stop the warm treated air from escaping. You may also consider natural roof ventilation, which helps to maintain uniform temperatures across your entire roof.

It is important to keep in mind that your roof will have to support the weight of the snow that will no longer be melting and forming dams. If you have an older roof and you are not sure that it will be able to sustain this additional load, consult with a roofing contractor to determine the best plan for your particular situation.

To prevent any further damage to your roof, it is always best to call on the help of a skilled professional, and our team at Qualified Roofing is ready to assist you. With more than 25 years of experience, our knowledgeable contractors know just what it takes to help rid your roof of these dams safely and effectively, and will take the necessary steps to help prevent them from forming in the future as well. To take care of your roof’s ice dams for good with high-quality roof repairs in Traverse City, MI, make sure you give Qualified Roofing a call right away.

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