Now that the cold storms of winter have started rolling in, it is time to be on the watch for ice dam formation along your home's rain gutters and roof edges. While they may seem harmless, ice dams add unnecessary stress along the roofline and are dangerous for the roof itself.
Since ice dams are formed by melted water that is in constant contact with the roof's shingles, the water will eventually intrude below the tar paper and get into the plywood sheeting and cause dry rot.
The Number One Sign of Ice Dam Problems — Icicle Formation
Though icicles are a beautiful byproduct of winter snowstorms, the reality is their formation is a telltale sign of a potentially serious problem. Icicles form on the edge of a roof that has developed an ice dam in the rain gutters or along the lower section of a roof.
Ice dams form when snow on a roof is melted from below and refreezes into a block as the water runs down the house. The block of ice is called an ice dam because it prevents additional moisture from flowing by and compounds the problem.
Preventing Ice Dams
Oddly enough, the solution to prevent ice dam formation typically has nothing to do with your roof or rain gutter system itself. It does, however, have everything to do with the temperature in the attic. The closer the attic's temperature is to the outside temperature, the less snow will melt on the roof's surface and promote the formation of ice dams.
To ensure the attic and outdoors have similar temperatures, it is vital you adequately insulate the attic. The attic is heated in winter as warm air rises from your home up through the ceilings and ceiling fixtures. By insulating the ceiling and around any fixtures, you can keep much of the heat from ever entering the attic. This is good for your roof and it is also better for your winter heating bills.
Any other heat should be released through the attic's vents. To ensure this is happening, check each of the vents to ensure they are not being blocked by insulation or items being stored in the attic.
Help for Ice Dam Problems
In conclusion, though ice dam formation is often a result of attic insulation and venting issues, resolving the problem is something many roofing service contractors have experience with. If you see ice dams, icicles forming after storms, or any other signs of winter roof damage, then having the roof inspected and repaired in a timely manner will ultimately save you a lot of money and frustration by preventing the need for a roof replacement.