Everything You Need To Know About Roof Ice Dams
What's the worst part of winter? Ice dams. It's every Ohio homeowners' worst nightmare. Snow and ice buildup on your roof can cause major leaks and damage to your home.
That's why roofing experts at All Around Roofing, Siding & Gutters have put together this guide to help you prevent ice dams on your roof. We hope after reading this, you'll be ready to tackle the worse of winter!
What is an ice dam on the roof?
Ice dams are thick layers of ice that form on the edge of roofs. Most often, water backs up under the shingles or metal flashing near the edge of a roof and refreezes. The result is an ice dam that prevents further melting snow from draining properly, leading to serious damage inside the home.
What causes ice damming on a roof?
Ice dams on roofs are caused by heat escaping from inside your home. This heat warms the lower level of the house, often due to poor insulation or air leaks around windows and doors. The warm air reaches the underside of the roof, where it melts snow, which then runs down toward the colder eaves of the home.
How to prevent ice dams on the roof?
Several steps can help to prevent roof ice dams in Ohio:
Add insulation to your attic- The more insulation, the better your house will retain heat and prevent heat loss. This extra warmth slows snowmelt. If possible, add insulation on top of the existing insulation for maximum effect.
Seal air leaks and insulate chimneys- Even small cracks and gaps in your home's structure can let heat escape. This means less heat is available to melt snow near the edge of the roof. In addition, a chimney without any insulation can easily lose large amounts of heated air, making your roof more prone to ice dams.
Install a gutter and downspout system correctly. Improperly installed gutters can allow melted snow to drain improperly, often toward the eaves of your house, where it refreezes as an ice dam. If possible, install a new gutter system with watertight seals around each of the joints.
Verify roof slopes- If your roof is pitched incorrectly or has an improper slope, melted snow may flow toward the roof's ridge rather than away from the eaves. As a result, it could refreeze as ice and cause an ice dam.
Rake your roof regularly- Remove any snow that falls on your roof before it can melt. If left for a long time, even a small amount of snow can accumulate into an ice dam over time.
Keep gutters and downspouts clear- Once you have all of your roof drains working properly, keep them that way by routinely clearing leaves and other debris from the gutters and downspouts to remove any blockages.
Consider an energy audit- If you have a history of roof ice dams in Ohio, you may need to take additional steps to ensure your home's heating system runs as efficiently as possible. Many Ohio power and heating companies offer free home energy audits that can provide valuable insight into preventing future problems.
Keep snow off the roof- In areas of Ohio that frequently get snow, remove it from the roof as soon as it falls. This will keep your roof slopes clear and help prevent an ice dam in the future.
Is there anything I can do if ice dams already damage my roof?
If you have an ice dam on your roof, you should take immediate steps to prevent further damage. For starters, remove the snow from the roof immediately using a broom or shovel. You also need to repair any gutters that are improperly draining water and make sure the flashing near the edge of your roof is installed correctly. In extreme cases, you may need to install a new gutter system and ensure all of your roof drains are clean and clear of debris.
In addition, consider hiring a professional roofer for additional repairs. Ice dams can be a serious problem if left untreated, so never attempt to fix the problem yourself. All Around Roofing, Siding & Gutters offers various home improvement services in Ohio, including professional ice dam repair. To schedule an appointment or a free estimate, please call at (937) 902-2839.