Is Your Home Susceptible to Ice Dams in The Winter?

Ask any Collingwood roofing company, and they’ll tell you that winter is probably the hardest season on a roof.  Between the fluctuating temperatures, and all the freezing precipitation, there’s a lot that could go wrong during those cold months – and ice dams on your roof can be one of the biggest problems.  Left unchecked, they can ruin your gutters, damage tiles, or eat away at the edges of your roof. It is also a sign that there may be a mold growing in your attic from the condensation.

Here’s everything you need to know about ice dams, and how to prevent them.

A Quick Guide to Ice Dams from Your Local Collingwood Roofing Company

  1. What is an ice dam?

Ice dams are large chunks of ice that form at the edges of the roof and/or within the gutters.  They may even overhang the roof, turning into large icicles.

  1.  How do ice dams form?

They require fairly specific conditions to happen.  First, there needs to be snowfall that accumulates on a roof.  Next, the roof must be in a situation where the top is above freezing but temperatures around the edges of the roof are below freezing.  This will cause the snow to slowly melt, dribble down the roof, and then re-freeze at the edge as solid ice.

Eventually, this will form large dams that can overtake the edge of a roof in its entirety.

III. Why are they called ice dams?

A dam is a barrier that is usually constructed to hold back water to raise water levels and form a reservoir. This is a very important structure when you want to generate electricity or water supply in large water dams, but on a roof, a dam stops melted snow water from flowing down. The water then becomes trapped above the dam, but without freezing.  This trapped water may begin to seep into a home and cause direct damage to the roof!

  1.  How are ice dams prevented?

A well-installed roof can help prevent ice dams, but much of the problem is also due to poor attic insulation and lack of air flow. During cold winter months we like to keep our houses warm, not only to protect our loved ones but our home as well, what we may not remember is that heat rises! A poorly insulated attic and roof will cause the heat to naturally rise to the highest point in the house – the top of the roof.  Now just add that snowfall and you have just created the perfect conditions for those ice dams to form.

The best way to prevent ice dams is to ensure your attic is well insulated and properly vented. It is also important to get regular roof inspections to identify any other contributing factors.  Contact your local Collingwood roofing company at Ainger Group to schedule an appointment for your own roof inspection!