How ice dams cause roof leaks and how to avoid interior water damage

Although snow and ice may look pretty on top of your roof, it’s in your best interest to may sure it is removed right away. Ice dams are a homeowner’s worst nightmare, and if not taken care of, can cause roof leakage – and in some cases – collapses! Take a look below to see how you can prevent ice dams and interior water damage issues in your home.

What is an “Ice Dam”?

An ice dam is when ice builds up at the edges of your roof, which prevents melting snow and water to drain. When it is a warmer winter day and heat rises to your attic, snow on top of your roof melts and may result in a “dam” that could cause leaks in your home – causing water to damage the ceiling, insulation and other roofing materials.

Preventing Ice Dams & Leaks

There are a number of short-term and long-terms solutions to eliminate ice dams and water leakage problems. Although removing snow and building water channels are effective in mitigating ice dams and water build-up in the near term, it’s always best to assess your attic’s insulation and evaluate snow loads at the beginning of each winter season:

  • Solution #1: Remove Snow & Ice – If you notice a build-up of snow on your roof, it’s easy to remove it with a “roof lake” ice scraper or push broom. In the short-term, pushing snow off your roof will eliminate the formation of any ice damns; but be careful not to damage your roofing materials as you remove ice and snow.
  • Solution #2: Build Water Channels – Another temporary solution includes building water channels to guide melting snow and ice off your roof. Creating channels through ice dams only lasts a few days, but is great for emergency situations, especially if you already have home leakage. In this case, a water channel through will enable water to drain off the roof from the ice dam.
  • Solution #3: Assess Attic Insulation – A more long-term solution for mitigating the formation of ice dam is assessing and fixing poor insulation. When winter weather rolls around, it’s important to ensure the ceiling is air-tight, so no air (or water) can flow into your home. After making sure all leakage paths between your home and attic are secure, you can add additional ceiling & roof insulation to eliminate heat loss.
  • Solution #4: Evaluate Snow Loads – Snow can be heavy and can compensate roofing materials – and in some cases add to the risk of roof collapse. Check to make sure your roof can withhold current loads. If your roof was built to current code, you should have no problems with its structure; your roof should be constructed to withstand snowfall, especially in the state of Michigan.

Worried about the ice dams on your home’s roof and not sure how to deal with them? No problem. Herbert Roofing Company is here to help. Contact us, today, so we can make sure your roof’s design meets Michigan winter requirements. We’ll help you create a roofing plan to ensure you don’t run into any problems this season.

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