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How To Recognize, Eliminate & Prevent Ice Dams

Roofers Removing Snow And Ice From A Roof

You May Need A Dam Professional


It starts with a snowstorm.
Snowflakes drift down.
Looks so peaceful.
Your grass gets dusted.
Your roof gets glazed.
Then it turns blizzard.
Snow gets deeper.
Grass gets covered.
Roof gets buried.
Then morning comes.
Sun comes out.
Temp gets warmer.
Snow melts.
Water streams down.
Everything drips.
Snow lets go.
Gets stuck on edge.
Water gets trapped.
Melting continues.
Temperature drops.
Water freezes.
Thaws again.
Freezes again.
Ice gets thicker.
Mound gets heavy.
Eaves get stressed.
Gutters get bent.
Shingles get crushed.
You look up and scream…

What is that dam thing on my roof?
And you may need a dam professional.

Why does the dam thing happen?

Ice dams are common winter problems for both residential and commercial buildings. Ice dams begin to form immediately after snow accumulates on your roof and the temperatures rise and fall. The top of your roof warms up but the temperature of the lower roof stays below freezing. As the water drips and flows down from the snow, it eventually freezes and gets trapped where the edge of your roof meets the gutter. If you see icicles hanging off the edge of your roof or gutters, chances are you have an ice dam problem. The more melting that occurs, the larger the ice dam gets and the more damage it can cause

What damage does the dam thing cause?

Ice dams start small but they grow large fast as the temperature fluctuates. The larger they get, the heavier they get. Ice dams can weigh hundreds or thousands of pounds. If you have eaves or overhangs, the weight adds pressure to the structure and pushes it down. Ice dams can block your gutters from sending water away from your foundation, which could cause puddling and seepage into your basement. Ice dams can cause shingles to crack, curl, or buckle under the weight. When this happens, water gets underneath your shingles and causes leaks to form. Ice dams can ruin flashings around your chimneys, vents or roof fixtures and allow water to penetrate. Ice dams can get so heavy that they can cause weaker structures such as a porch roofs or overhangs to buckle or collapse.

What can you do from the ground?

Ice dams generally occur when more than six inches of snow accumulate on your roof. After a storm, you could use a ‘roof rake’ to rake four feet of snow away from the edge of your roof. Roof rakes are built for that purpose with handles that extend. It’s harder and more exhausting than it looks when there’s snow on the ground and the roof is too tall to reach from the ground. It’s often wise to call a roofing professional to remove rooftop snow for you. Going up on to the roof in the winter is not an option because rooftops are slippery and dangerous without the proper equipment and safety gear. Only a professional roofing company should go up to a roof in the winter.

How can you avoid the whole dam thing?

Inadequate ventilation and poor insulation can cause condensation. To avoid ice dams, your attic or crawl space should be the same temperature as the outside air. Condensation occurs when warm air inside your attic or crawl space is in contact with a freezing cold ceiling. A professional roofing company will recommend adding more ventilation and more insulation to your attic or crawl space to stop condensation. These changes will also prevent mildew and mold from forming in the summertime. Ventilation will keep the air moving and flowing. Insulation will separate the warm air from the cold ceiling. Also keep in mind that you should block the heat from light fixtures, dryer vents and other sources that could be causing heat in your attic. This may include insulating the floor of the attic or between the rafters of a dropped ceiling.

What shouldn’t you do if you have a dam problem?

Never ignore your gutters. Remove sticks and debris from your gutters before it snows. Repair or replace damaged gutters or ask your roofer about installing new gutters that keep the debris out. Make sure your downspouts are clear and the water can pass freely. Remove sticks and debris from the roof so it doesn’t add bulk to the dam. Never add chemicals to your roof because they may ruin your shingles. Never chip or chop the ice from ice dams because the chipping and chopping can damage your shingles, gutters and edging. Never use a high-pressure power washer to remove ice dams because it can harm the shingles and push more water underneath. Never use salt rock on your roof because it can ruin shingles and corrode metals. Never knock down icicles when you’re standing below them because they are sharp and pointed and can cause injury.

Call a dam professional like Adam Quenneville Roofing & Siding!

If you see icicles forming on the edge of your roof, you most likely have ice dams. Sometimes ice dams will melt away on warmer days or during a spring thaw but often they will do harm before they vanish. It’s best to address the problem before the ice dams get out of control. Adam Quenneville Roofing & Siding is your dam professional. They begin by removing snow and ice from your roof by gently shoveling it to the ground. They go up to the roof to carefully remove ice dams with the proper equipment that will not harm the roofing system. Adam Quenneville Roofing & Siding offers professional solutions to prevent ice dams in the future. If you need snow or ice removed from your residential or commercial roof, Adam Quenneville Roofing & Siding is on call year-round. It’s the only dam call you’ll have to make.

Blog by Deborah O’Neill, Allen Media, Inc.

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