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Ice Dams--Your roof's biggest winter enemy

December 29, 2017

Icicles might look beautiful hanging off your home, but they are anything but lovely. Icicles can tear off gutters, loosen shingles and cause leaks into your home. The same conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing temperatures—also lead to “ice dams,” thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves of your roof. Not only can this cause the damage listed above, it can also lead to soggy insulation in your attic, which can cause mold and mildew.

Ice dams begin to form when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except for the eaves. Then, the snow melts on the warm roof but freezes on the colder eaves. As the ice accumulates on the colder parts of the roof, it forms a dam. As the snow melts from the rest of the roof, it cannot travel into the gutters and away from the house. This water backs up behind the dam, flows under the shingles and into your home.

While you might be tempted to break the ice dam by chipping at it with a hammer, chisel, or shovel, this can cause significant irreparable damage to your room. Throwing ice melt on the dams will not help either, and as the salted water flows off your roof if can damage your grass and landscaping. The best option is to take a box fan into your attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is leaking in. This dose of cold air will freeze the water and stop the leak, usually in a matter of minutes.

Permanently getting rid of ice dams means keeping the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. This can be done by increasing ventilation, adding insulation, and sealing possible air leaks that might warm the underside of the roof. Options include capping the attic hatch, making sure exhaust ducts and dryer vents lead outdoors through the roof or walls not the soffit, and flashing chimneys.

The professionals at RSG Construction are skilled at preventing ice dams and ensuring your roof is ready for the upcoming winter weather. If you spot ice dam-related issues to your roof this season, or notice anything out of the ordinary, give the team at RSG a call at 816-866-4235 or just click HERE to schedule your complimentary consultation. 

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