Three Easy Steps to Prevent Ice Buildup From Damaging Your Roof
December 5, 2016
December 5, 2016
The holidays are approaching fast, and winter storms aren’t far behind. Snow, ice, and freezing rain are winter travel hazards, but they also create dangers for your home.
“Ice dams” are dangerous lumps of ice that often build up along the lower edges of roofs—where the roof meets the gutter—during the winter. Dams are formed when melting snow flows down the roof and resolidifies as ice along the edge of the roofline. This occurs when warm air rises up through the roof from the attic, melting the underside of the snow that accumulates on the house. The melted snow trickles down the slope of the roof and refreezes along the eaves, which are naturally colder than the portion of the roof above the attic.
Over time, ice builds up along the eaves, blocking gutters and downspouts and often also forcing newly melted snow back up beneath the roof, causing leaks and other damage to your home.
Although ice dams are dangerous, you can prevent ice dams from forming and damaging your home. Here are some simple tips to spot, prevent, and keep your home safe from ice dams during the winter months:
- Don’t Let Snow Build Up On Roofs. Use a broom or snow rake to remove new snow from your roof as soon as it’s safely possible after snowfalls (or hire a professional snow removal service). Ice dams form more easily on roofs with flatter slops, so if your roof is not steep, you must be extra vigilant when it comes to removing extra snow and ice.
- Seal And Insulate Roofs Properly. Ice dams result from warm air leaking upward through the roof. You can prevent this (and lower your heating bill into the bargain) by installing adequate insulation, venting roofs properly, and ensuring roofs are properly sealed to prevent warm air from leaking into the attic from the living space below.
- Install Metal Roofing, Drip Edges, or Waterproof Membranes. Replacing old shingle or tile roofs with metal roofing or metal drip edges near the eaves can help prevent ice dams from forming and pushing water back up beneath the roof. Waterproof membranes beneath your roofing can also help prevent damage from ice dams, melting snow, and other water-related leaks. However, be aware: not even metal roofing can stop ice dams from occurring in every case, especially on roofs with flatter slopes.
No matter how well a roof is vented and insulated, smart homeowners inspect the roofline regularly during the winter months, removing extra snow and ice and paying attention to icicles that block or overhang eaves and gutters. A little time taking care of your roof will help ensure that your roof takes care of your family (and your belongings) too.