Chesterfield Roofing: Article About Preventing Ice Dams
Homeowners who live in areas with heavy snowfall need to be sure that their roof is protected from ice dams. Many people have grown accustomed to the formation of ice dams around the perimeter of their home's roof, especially along the eaves. Unfortunately, these ice dams can lead to expensive damage. The formation of ice dams is an indication that there is a problem with the roofing system. This problem is something that should be taken care of by an experienced Chesterfield roofing contractor as soon as possible.
There are two primary reasons why roofs develop ice dams. The first is improper attic and roof ventilation. The second is insufficient insulation. When a roof is covered in snow and heat from inside, the home starts to create warmer sections on the roof, and uneven melting can occur. This usually means that areas that are higher on the roof will start to melt first; as the melting snow starts to drain down towards the roof's eaves, it hits a section of the roof that is still frozen.
As the draining water hits the cooler temperature of the eaves, it refreezes.
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This is the start of an ice dam, and as more water flows towards the roof's edge, the ice dam continues to grow. Eventually, the water starts to back up and work its way under the shingles. Once this happens, leaks are almost a certainty.
Of course, the water damage can destroy the shingles, underlayment and decking, but it can also cause damage to insulation, walls, ceilings and even personal items in the home. Preventing ice dams requires careful attention to proper insulation, especially at the roof's ridge, as well as good ventilation in the attic and under the roof.
When homeowners discover dampness in the attic or ice ridges forming on the roof, it's time to take immediate action. In the middle of winter, heat tape can be placed along the ice dam in order to provide an effective way to melt a channel through the ice. This channel will serve as a drainage point for melting snow and minimize the risk of water backing up under the shingles.
Heat tape should be considered a temporary remedy. Once the weather is warm enough, a roofing contractor will be able to assess the damage, make repairs and take steps to ensure adequate ventilation and insulation are in place in order to prevent future problems.