Winter can be really tough on your house, especially if you are not prepared. One of the most common problems that you might encounter during the winter is ice damming on your roof. 

Ice dams form when the snow from your roof melts and refreezes at the edge of the roof. This might leave you wondering how snow could melt when it is freezing outside. This can be traced back to basic thermodynamics and probably a poorly designed ventilation system. When snow accumulates on the surface of a roof, the roof becomes insulated. This traps the heat in the attic, and increases the temperature of the roof. When snow is melted with this heat, water runs down the roof. The bottom part of the roof is usually less warm than the top. When the water reaches the cold edge or gutter, it refreezes and turns into ice, creating a dam. As more snow gets accumulated on the roof, this process will continue and the dam will get larger, causing greater damage. 

Causes of Ice Damming

Basically, ice dams are caused by improper ventilation. Aside from that, ice dams form due to a few other factors:

  • Poor attic insulation
  • Exhaust fans in the bathroom that are vented to the attic
  • Lack of insulation of folding attic stair openings

There may be other causes of poor ventilation and improper insulation but the ones listed above are the most common. 

Effects of Ice Damming

When winter comes, ice damming on your roof is definitely something you should watch out for. Not only can it cause inconvenience with the ice stalactites that form at the bottom of your roof's gutters, it can also cause serious damage to your home. These damages may not be immediately obvious; but if your roof, attic and ceilings go unchecked, you might encounter bigger issues, such as:

  • Water-stains on the ceiling
  • Dislodging of roof shingles
  • Sagging of gutters due to heavy ice
  • Damaged plaster and Peeling paint
  • Deteriorating wall cavities
  • Corrosion of metal fasteners

How to Fix Roofs damaged by Ice Damming

A long-term solution is required to fix the problem of ice damming permanently. Meanwhile, you can counter this problem by doing these fast fixes:

  • Freeze the water in its tracks by blowing in cold air to the roof.
  • Use a rake with wheels to pull the snow off the roof.
  • Remove the things that are direct sources of heat in the attic.
  • Keep your gutters clean to keep the melted snow from clogging and refreezing. 

Winter can be a really challenging time in more ways than one. If you check your roof and ceiling periodically, you might save yourself from spending a lot of money on repairs from the damage that is caused by ice dams on your roof. To avoid ice damming, you can either check your roof periodically or have your home's ventilation and insulation properly inspected and repaired if necessary. 

If your roof has suffered from damages as a result of ice damming this winter, contact the experts at Cherry & Clark. We have the experience necessary to deal with your ice damming and snow issues.