Ice dams are exactly what they sound like, dams made of ice. After a snow storm, the snow on your roof begins to melt and work its way towards your gutters. Sometimes, however, this melted snow will refreeze at the edge of your roof, forming ice dams and preventing water from properly draining. With nowhere else to go, the water will begin to back up under your shingles and into your attic.
Ice Dams are a Major Cause of Water Damage in Many Homes!
Your shingles are designed for one purpose: to protect your roof from water. Your shingles divert water towards your gutters with the help of gravity. Your shingles, however, are not designed to stop water coming from the opposite direction. This is why ice dams are such a big problem for homeowners. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent ice dams and water damage.
How do I prevent Ice Dams?
Preventing ice dams starts with your attic ventilation and insulation. For ice dams to form, the outside surface of your roof must be above 32°F, while the lower outside portion is below 32°F. This is what helps facilitate the melting and refreezing process. Fortunately, it is, for the most part, preventable.
In order for your roof to be above 32°F, it must be heated from inside the attic. The best way to prevent this is to ensure your roof is properly sealed and ventilated and to make sure your attic is properly insulated.
- Seal Gaps: It is important to seal gaps between your living space and the attic. These gaps allow heated air to enter the attic and heat your roof, leading to ice dams.
- Roof Ventilation: Attic ventilation allows your attic to stay at the proper temperature by allowing cold air in and warm air to escape.
- Attic Insulation: Attic insulation helps slow the rate of heat flow into your attic. This not only helps make your home more energy efficient, but also helps prevent your roof from heating. ENERGY STAR recommends about 12-15 inches of attic insulation (R-38).
R-Value is a measure of its ability to resist heat flow.
How do I handle Water Damage?
If you are the victim of ice dams and water damage, you must first rectify the situation. Call a professional roofer and have them examine your roof. They should be able to provide insight as to why the ice dams have formed, as well as fix the issue. Meanwhile, it is also important to deal with the water damage in a timely fashion. For this, you should call a water damage restoration company, like ServiceMaster of Baltimore.
Hopefully you have found our blog, “Ice Dams and Water Damage,” informative and helpful. Continue to check back weekly for more helpful home improvement tips.