What You Need to Know about Ice Dams

What You Need to Know about Ice Dams

COMMON ICE DAM LOCATIONS

When examining your roof for ice dams after a snowstorm, pay close attention to these areas of your roof:

  • If your house has dormers, the valley areas of the dormer frequently get ice dams.
  • If your house has skylights, ice dams can occur both above and below them and they are harder to see from the ground, which makes them more difficult to discover.
  • Any openings through your roof are prone to ice dams – pipes and vents are an easy place for small ice dams to form.
  • Valleys in your roof are very common areas for ice dams to form.
  • Roofs with a low pitch are an easy target for ice dams and can cause significant leaking and interior damage.
  • The eaves edge (pictured) is the most common place to find ice dams. In fact, about 80% of all ice dams will be found here.
  • Ice dams can also form above interior rooms with vaulted ceilings. Recessed lighting in a vaulted ceiling is much more likely to have ice dams.
  • Ice dams occasionally form around chimneys and furnace flues, as well as any place where heat escapes through the roof. Ice dams in these locations can be very small and still cause leaking.

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE AN ICE DAM

Knock down the icicles – begin by knocking down icicles you can reach because the sheer weight can cause structural damage to your gutters and roof, and could fall and hurt someone below.

Chip off the ice – in many instances, this is when the homeowner calls and expert like Quality Exteriors.  Getting safely onto your roof is oftentimes tricky, and it can be quite dangerous to do this on your own because the chipping action can damage the shingles if done incorrectly.

Ice melting products – calcium chloride ice melting products are often used by sprinkling the product on the dam, which causes the ice to break down and melt off.  Its important to note that you should not use rock salt or sodium chloride because they can damage your roof.

 

PREVENTING ICE DAMS BEFORE WINTER

One of the most effective ways to prevent ice dams during winter storms is to improve the ventilation under your roof.  Its very important to keep heat out of your attic because this is what promotes melting and as the water flows down to the colder sections of your roof, it freezes again, causing an ice dam and potentially damaging your roof.

Proper roof ventilation allows for a better airflow to get under your soffit and back up to the peak of your roof, so if heat does get to your attic, it is more evenly distributed and you have a lesser chance of an ice dam forming.

Another method is to increase the amount of insulation on the floor of your attic which prevents heat from rising into it. This can also improve the comfort level of your home and save on power bills as well.

Clean out your gutters after the leaves have fallen and before any chance of snow. Also check your downspouts to make sure they are clear so that you don’t give melting snow an opportunity to build up and form an ice dam.

 

ABOUT QUALITY EXTERIORS

Ice dams don’t just form on shingle roofs, they can damage cedar shake, slate, wood, metal, and most any type of material. Quality Exteriors installs and repairs all types of roofs.

Serving all of Middle Tennessee and founded in 2006 by brothers Jordan and Justin Howell, Quality Exteriors is located in Murfreesboro and is the area’s premier contractor for both commercial and residential roofing needs. Voted Murfreesboro’s Favorite Roofer for the past 11 years in a row, Quality Exteriors is the only GAF Master Elite Triple Excellence Roofing Contractor in our area, and is dedicated to serving its community and appreciates consistently being recognized as the area’s preferred, local, family-owned roofing contractor.

As a long-standing local, family-owned roofing contractor serving developers and property owners across Middle Tennessee, Quality Exteriors will always ‘Be Here When You Need Us.’