As the cold weather continues to make its way into the Niagara Region it’s time to prepare your roofing for the season if it is not already. This week I am going to talk a bit about ice dams.
So first off you may be asking what is an ice dam? Well, in a nutshell it is ice that forms when melted snow refreezes at the edge of a home’s roof. The snowmelt runs down the roof and freezes into a dam of ice that prevents any more water from running off the roof.
As snow continues to melt, more water backs up and freezes when it runs into the dam, creating long icicles that hang down from the roof’s edge. Eventually, the melting snow backs up into the attic and the home can suffer water damage.
Why Does This Happen and What Can Result?
Ice dams can occur when there are freezing temperatures outside and warm air in an attic. The warm air in the attic heats the underside of the roof and causes the snow to melt. The cold conditions outside cause the water to freeze before it has a chance to make its way through the gutters.
If this process continues over a period of time, the water that is pushed back underneath the shingles eventually seeps through the roof deck and wets attic insulation. This can lead to mold growth and decay. If water leaks into the ceiling of the home’s living spaces, it can cause the plaster to stain and deteriorate.
The only way to prevent ice dams is to remove one of the two conditions that contribute to their formation in the first place. Since you can’t change the outdoor temperatures, you have to deal with the temperature of your attic. A cold attic means that snow won’t melt and ice dams will be avoided.
To keep your attic cool you can do two things:
1.Add Attic Vents: Every roof needs proper ventilation. This allows any warm air from your home to quickly meet cold air and exit the attic space. Have a qualified roofer examine your attic to see if your ventilation design is correct. If not, adding soffit or side vents is an effective solution.
2. Add Attic Insulation: You can also add insulation to the attic floor, especially around light fixtures and other vents. Make sure that the ways for warm air to leak into the attic are limited.
For all your roofing needs please call our team at Class Eh! Roofing. We would be glad to help you out!
Wayne Jeffreys is a native of Niagara-On-The-Lake and owner of Niagara based roofing company Class Eh Roofing!