Winter can often be harsh on your roof and seamless gutters. Freezing temperatures, heavy snow, high winds, and other outdoor elements can lead to serious roofing issues. Throughout the season, your roof may also suffer from constant freeze-thaw cycles, compromising its structure. Another issue you should look out for during the colder months is ice damming. This ice formation isn’t only destructive to your roof, but also to other areas of your house.
Read on to discover different ways ice dams can damage your home.
How Do Ice Dams Form?
You can usually find ice dams at the edge of your roof. What they do is prevent snowmelt from draining properly from your roof and home. This issue must be addressed immediately or water can back up underneath the dam and eventually travel inside your home. When this happens, water damage will occur in your ceilings, walls, insulation, and other parts of your interior.
The most common reason ice dams occur is due to uneven roof surface temperatures. Heat loss, snow covering the roof, and freezing outdoor temperatures make the ideal environment for ice dam formation. Ice dams will form when there is snow covering your roof and the higher portions of the roof are above freezing while lower surfaces are below 32°F. Outside temperatures must be below freezing for a part of the roof to also be below freezing.
Snow on the upper surface of the roof where it is warmer will melt and flow down the area where temperatures are below freezing, forming ice dams. The dam only gets bigger over time as the snow above your roof continues to melt. However, it only occurs in areas of the roof that are below 32°F. It means that the water above can back up behind the dam and stay in a liquid state. The water can gain entry to your attic through the cracks and gaps on the surface of your roof. When it reaches your attic, it could find its way to your exterior ways or through your insulation and damage your ceilings.
What Causes Uneven Surface Temperatures?
The Sun’s Radiant Heat
During the day, the sun’s heat can cause the snow on your roof to melt. When the nighttime comes, temperatures drop and the snowmelt refreezes. Temperature changes throughout the day are something you can’t control. However, you can take extra measures to keep your roof at a consistent temperature and prevent further damage.
Proper insulation and ventilation are essential no matter what kind of roof you have. They prevent your attic from getting excessively hot and humid. The lack of them can result in fluctuating roof surface temperatures. Areas with poor insulation such as doors, outlets, and light fixtures can leak warm air that rises into your attic, resulting in uneven roof temperatures.
Another common reason a roof surface is at different temperatures is damage. Missing or compromised shingles, gutter issues, and other forms of damage must be addressed immediately. Depending on the state of your roof and gutters, they may only need repairs or replacement. At Barry Best Seamless Gutters, our experienced team can determine the best solutions for your gutter system. You can rely on us for superior gutter installation services.
What Can Ice Dams Do to Your Home?
Shingles can develop damage or even fall off from the roof as ice back up beneath them. It’s just one reason you should have ice dams removed immediately. Ignoring the issue will only cause it to get worse and even result in early roof failure.
Alongside your roof, your gutters can also suffer due to ice dams. The weight of snow and ice dams can put excessive strain on your gutters, which can deform them. You don’t want your gutter system to be in bad shape because it will fail to drain properly from your roof.
Water damage is one of the worst things that can happen to any home. You are more likely to face this problem if you have ice dams. Ice melts as it touches the warm air from your indoor spaces and melts. As a result, water damage will occur in your ceilings, walls, floors, and insulation. You must address water damage as soon as its early signs show. Failure to do so can cause floor bucking, ceiling collapse, and a compromised home structure.
There is a greater possibility of mold growth if your home has ice dams due to the increased risk of leaks. Mold can cause unsightly spots on the surfaces of your living spaces and release a foul odor. It produces spores that trigger asthma attacks, allergies, and other respiratory issues.
Home Exterior Damage
Ice dams can damage home exterior components such as fascia, soffits, eaves, and siding. They can tear off your gutters, resulting in the need for costly repairs or replacement. Even if your gutters stay in place, moisture from ice dams could have compromised the wooden components behind your gutters.
How Do You Prevent Ice Dams?
Avoid Excessive Snow Buildup
Ice dams usually occur on the bottom three to six feet of your roof. Removing snow covering that area can prevent it from melting and becoming an ice dam. If you don’t have experience with snow removal, it’s safer and better to leave the job to skilled professionals. Doing so will help you avoid fall accidents and unintentional roof damage.
Replace an Outdated Roof
How long has it been since your roof was installed? Residential roofing systems typically last between 25 to 50 years. If your roof is more than two decades old and appears to be in bad shape, consider getting a professional inspection. A skilled contractor can tell you if you need to replace your existing roof.
Improve Your Attic’s Ventilation
With proper ventilation, cool air enters, and warm, humid air escapes outside. Good airflow is essential to the efficiency and longevity of our roof. Your attic can become extremely hot if it lacks ventilation, contributing to ice dam formation. To determine if your attic needs more vents, consult experienced roofing professional.
Upgrade Your Insulation
Making sure your home has enough insulation also helps in preventing ice dams. Proper insulation keeps your living spaces warm. It keeps rising warm air from traveling to your attic and heating your roof, aiding in ice dam prevention.
Invest in a Heated Gutter System
Heated gutter systems are also a great way to avoid ice dams in homes. At Barry Best Seamless Gutters, we install Helmet Heat that prevents damage due to snow and ice buildup. This heated gutter system works through a cable installed on your roof. The heat it releases depends on the temperature of your roof.
Helmet Heat heats up as temperatures drop to melt snow and ice, so they flow effortlessly down your roof and into the gutters. It means you don’t have to worry about dangerous icicles forming in your gutters. During summer, this cable cools down to help reduce your energy consumption and keep your roof from overheating.
Get Regular Gutter Cleaning and Maintenance
Make it a habit to schedule gutter cleaning and maintenance before the colder months arrive. A clog-free gutter system will effectively drain melted snow from your roof, preventing ice dams.