Damage from Ice Dams Can Cause Secondary Damage

How Ice Dams Happen

Ice Dams form when snow or ice  accumulates on the surface of your roof, causing a “dam” at the edge of an in-insulated part of a roof, such as an overhang or eve. As the heating system heats the home and attic space throughout the day, snow and ice begin to melt from the heated areas and drips off of the roof. Though beautiful, icicles form and begin to build up ice on the edge of the uninsulated part of the roof. Beneath this top layer water runs down into the gutter and then refreezes then continues over time to cause a large amount of ice build up over the top of the gutter. Water then starts to pool on your roof and seep back under your shingles, metal roofing or any other roofing system.  As the ice melts again, it seeps into your attic and eventually comes through areas of the structure, resulting in water damage. This can cause damage to drywall, insulation, and framing materials. It can also be an incubation point for mold inside the wall cavity or external walls, ceiling, and even the attic. It can even potentially cause dry rot to the framing materials and reduce the structural integrity of the structure. Wet building materials can start to have a strong musty odor as well.

Ice dams can cause a large amount of damage to a commercial or residential structure. They can cause mold damage and even dry rot. If ice builds up too much it can even rip off rain gutters from the weight of the ice.

Here are a few easy preventative measures to reduce the potential for ice dams:

1.Check the attic for proper insulation. Building code requires a minimum of 14 inches deep of insulation in the attic.
2.String waterproof electric heat tape through your gutters to keep them from freezing and building up with ice.
3.Keep the snow off of your roof. If snow is building up on your roof, get it shoveled off to eliminate the melting of the bottom layer.

It is a really good idea to carefully and safely remove icicles from overhangs and eves. This will not only help prevent ice dams but also prevent any danger to kids or neighbors walking beneath the roof. Icicles can become very heavy and can hurt someone very badly if they fall.

If you have further questions, feel free to give us a call at Spectrum Building & Restoration