When temperatures fluctuate between above and below freezing, rain turns to snow, snow thaws to water, water freezes to ice. When this happens on a roof it becomes an ice dam and can become a real calamity.
How it happens
When insulation is inadequate, heat from the inside building melts the snow that’s on the roof. As it moves away from the heat it becomes ice again, causing an ice dam. This dam then catches more melted snow.
When temperatures rise quickly from below to above freezing, the amount of water that piles up at the ice dam can wreak havoc on the roof, the building, and your bottom line. It becomes heavy enough to penetrate into the roof, usually at vents, flashings and valleys.
What it causes
The pooled water leaks into the walls causing mold to grow and wood to rot. It’s an invitation for an insect infestation.
Repairs are costly because manufacturer’s warranties won’t cover them and neither do insurance companies. The manufacturers won’t cover repair costs that were caused by inadequate insulation. Insurance companies won’t pay for damage that could have been prevented by proper maintenance.
What to do if you have ice dams
Have a professional roofing contractor remove the ice dams. Without proper training, someone could easily damage the roof. The contractor can locate the areas where the roof is being heated and can help solve the insulation problem while there’s still snow on the roof.
How to prevent them in future
Ensure that insulation is effective – you want to keep roofs cold to prevent meltwater accumulation. Invest in an annual maintenance program and be sure to have roofs checked before the cold hits. Debris removal, gutter cleaning and patchwork is taken care of with maintenance and goes a long way in preventing the expensive disaster that would eventually happen.