Icicles. They’re long, shiny and look like magical decorations on the side of a house. Beautiful, right? Unfortunately, these delicate, cold-weather phenomena aren’t as awe-worthy in the roofing business. In fact, they even go by a much scarier name– ice dams. Learn about what these are, what they’re caused by, and what to do if you find one on your rooftop.
What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams are a serious, winter roofing problem that can cause home damage to not only the top of your home, but also to your home’s paint, insulation, gutters and drywall. They’re created when the surface temperature of the upper part of your roof raises above 32 degrees, but the temperature at the lower part of your roof remains at freezing temperature. This causes snow on the warmer areas to melt, flow down, and re-freeze into an ice accumulation, or dam, on the lower eave.
As this process continually happens, the dam at the bottom of a suffering roof will continue to grow until the water caught by the dam remains liquid, and is trapped in a pool between the dam and your roof. Eventually, since shingles are not waterproof like a pool liner, but are instead water-shedding, this water seeps into cracks where shingles overlap and into your attic, putting your entire home at risk.
What Causes Them?
Ice dams are caused when a roof gets warmer than freezing temperature. The cause of that? An overly warm attic that is not well-ventilated. Ideally, your attic should hold no heat, so the roof deck can be kept as cold as possible. The second largest culprit is dirty gutters. After all, melted snow has nowhere to go if the gutters are clogged.
Eliminating ice dams (and keeping them from returning next snow) is not as easy as it looks, so don’t take matters into your own hands. Instead, contact P.I. Roofing for a full-project, in-depth service.