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Know Your Roof

What You Should Know about Ice Dams

Ice dams: something that many homeowners have experienced, and others fear. Here in Minnesota, our winters bring a good share of snow, ice, and cold temperatures. With inclement weather comes the risk of ice dams. Having a better understanding of ice dams can help you prevent them in the future.

What are ice dams? 

According to the University of Minnesota, an ice dam is “a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof.” When melting snow cannot drain properly, the water pools and can potentially cause leaks. Leaks can cause water damage to your roof and deteriorate your home’s siding. Moisture from the roof can seep through the attic, creating water stains along interior walls and the ceiling. Also, leaking water from ice dams can result in wet wall insulation, and develop mold and mildew over time.

How do they happen?

Ice dams are the result of a temperature difference between your roof and eaves. For example, when the top of your roof is warmer than the eaves, the snow melts and has nowhere to run. Then it floods and freezes once the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice dams are more common in older homes due to poor insulation, but newer homes can fall victim, too. Recessed lighting, intricate roof designs, skylights, and heating ducts in the attic can increase the potential for ice dams.

How can I prevent them?

Ice dams are preventable when you control the amount of heat your home loses. The goal is to have the same roof surface temperature throughout. Here are a few things you do can do to prevent ice dams:

  • Remove snow from your roof. For your own safety and to prevent injuries, call in professional roofing contractors, like Above All Roofing, to remove snow from your roof. We have the appropriate equipment to remove excess snow without damaging your roof or shingles. Roofs built to code can most likely withstand four feet of fresh snow whereas two feet or more of packed snow is enough to exceed your roof’s weight capacity.
  • Make sure your attic is airtight. Look for holes and air leaks commonly found around plumbing vents, light fixtures, chimneys, and other areas. When warm air escapes your home, it can affect the temperature of your roof.   
  • Add insulation to your attic floor. More attic insulation will help retain the heat rising from your home, which can help moderate the temperature level of your roof. 

Preventing ice dams is possible if you take proactive measures. At Above All Roofing, we offer an assortment of winter roofing services. Whether you need help getting rid of ice dams, removing snow, or repairing roof damage, our experienced professionals will find a solution for your individual needs. Contact us today for your free estimate.