The Treasure Valley and Boise areas are experiencing a record breaking winter this year. We are receiving a huge amount of calls regarding roof ice dams and snow buildup on roofing. So we wanted to create a quick post to explain roof ice dams causes, dangers, and solutions!
Roofs unfortunately can take quite a beating because of brutal winter weather conditions. The roof of a home is designed to protect your home from the elements through its insulating properties as well as by creating a water barrier that is impermeable to moisture. There are instances, however, when weather conditions work against your roof. One of the most common times when this happens is during the winter when ice dams and roof leaks occur. Some ice dams are unavoidable, but many cases of ice dams can be prevented by taking the proper steps. With a closer look at what causes ice dams, you can then understand the best ways to prevent them from occurring.
An ice dam is an uneven accumulation of ice on the roof that allows water to build up behind it. It usually develops along the edge of the roof, but it can develop in other areas. Some roofs are heated unevenly, and this may be because of internal heat from the home or because of sunlight shining unevenly across the roof. When snow or ice melts in one area of the roof, the water may trickle slowly down the roof. However, when this water reaches another area of the roof that is cooler, the water may re-freeze, and a dam is formed. Water can pool up behind this dam. This can occur on all types of roofs regardless of their composition.
Roofs are designed to be watertight for water that runs in a downward path, but they are not designed to be watertight for pools of water. When water pools up, it can work its way back into the crevices of the roof and enter the home. This can result in roof damage to the exterior of the home as well as water damage inside the home. Removing the ice dam is the only way to stop the damage from an ice dam. You can, however, take steps to prevent an ice dam from developing in the first place.
Most homeowners would agree that preventing an ice dam is preferred over repairing the damage from one. Because an ice dam is caused by uneven heating on the roof, you can easily correct this to reduce the chance of an ice dam from developing. This can be accomplished by venting exhaust ducts to the exterior of the home and ensuring that duct work inside the attic is not leaking. These can cause the attic to heat up unevenly. You can also add a fresh layer of insulation to the attic, and this is because insulation can shift or even deteriorate over time. Improving ventilation in the attic can also help to keep the temperature in the attic even, and this impacts the temperature of the roof. When you get a new roof installed, you can also request a waterproof shingle underlayment to be installed as well. This creates a waterproof barrier underneath the shingles.
If you have an ice dam currently, you may be inclined to climb on top of your roof and simply chip the ice away. While this is one option available to you, it is best to call a professional for assistance. Even when roofs are dry, they are dangerous to work on because of their slope and height. They become even more perilous when they are covered with slick snow and ice. In addition to risking injury to yourself, you may also inadvertently damage the roof.
If you need roof snow or ice dam removal, have a leaking roof, or if you need assistance preventing an ice dam in the future, call our office to schedule an appointment with our team.
Serving Boise, The Treasure Valley, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Eagle, Emmett, Fruitland, Middleton, Mountain Home, Jerome, Sun Valley, Garden Valley and Burley, Idaho.
Call: (208) 955-6818
Rocky Mountain Exteriors provides complete roofing services to Southern Idaho.
Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Eagle, Emmett, Garden Valley, Fruitland, Middleton, Mountain Home, Jerome, McCall and Burley, Idaho. We also serve those in Baker City, La Grande, Ontario, Vale, Pendleton and Medford, Oregon.
4900 North Rose Point Way, Suite C
Boise, ID 83713
Phone: (208) 955-6818