What Are Ice Ice Dams?
This will be the first in a series of blog topics about ice dams. After we define what ice dams are and how they are caused, I will follow-up with topics on steps you can take to prevent them without installing a new roof, and steps you should consider when installing a new roof. I understand that the answer to every roof problem isn’t, “install a new roof,” as you may have a roof that has considerable service life remaining if you can address some problems.
Ice dams are exactly what they sound like; dams made of ice that prevent snow melt from draining off your roof. And this is the problem, they prevent water from draining off your sloped roof and pool water, leading to roof leaks, potential mold and mildew, insulation damage, structural damage, and aesthetic damages associated with large roof leaks. In an earlier blog, I talked about small roof leaks; roof leaks from ice dams are not small.
What Causes Ice Dams?
After a large snow, everything is so peaceful and snow covered. It is beautiful, the sun comes out, the sky is crisp and clear azure, uniform snow covering that has no markings; truly a winter wonderland. That wonderland can quickly turn though. Trouble lurks just beneath the surface.
Heat rises, and heat from your comfy warm house collects in the attic. This heat causes the snow to melt and the sloped roof allows this snowmelt to drain towards your gutters. However, at the edge of your roof, you have an eave that doesn’t have a warm attic below it. The snow doesn’t melt at the eave. What happens when this draining water hits the area of the roof that isn’t warmed? That water freezes, almost instantly, before it has an opportunity to get into your gutter. Do you see that beautiful icicle hanging? That is evidence of what happens when water hits the cold air. And it isn’t just icicles that are formed, you can form a thick ridge of ice right at your eaves. That thick ridge of ice is called an ice dam, and once it is formed trouble will ensue until it is removed. Every time snow melts on your roof and tries to drain, it will run into that ice dam, pool, and ultimately re-freeze. Once an ice dam is formed, it is self-perpetuating.
Here in Lees Summit, we have both snow and ice storms that can contribute to ice dams. If you see evidence of an ice dam forming, you may want to call a local roofing contractor to address this problem immediately.
We are an experienced Lees Summit roofing company with over 15 years experience in repair, service and installation.