Ice Damming is a barrier of ice that does not allow water to properly flow off a roof. They are the result when water from melting snow flows to a roof’s edges and freezes. Normal signs of ice damming, is the appearance of water staining on interior ceilings and walls.
Ice Dams frequently occur during the winter months when melting snow results in moisture, which becomes trapped, on the roof because the ice dams prevent the water from reaching the gutters, downspouts, or the ground. It is important to mention roof shingles are designed to shed water, which runs down the roof, not protection from water pooling on its surface.
Eventually, standing water backs up under the shingles and penetrates the roof sheeting. If left unchecked, it can result in significant damage. Prompt action and maintenance are the keys to ice dam prevention. Here are some tips to consider:
Since most damming occurs when the undermost layer of snow closest to roof melts, a cold roof prevents that deepest layer of snow from melting. Be sure the attic is well ventilated, with vents free of snow and debris. Properly insulate the attic, and have a qualified contractor inspect for bare spots and areas of insulation, which are matted down.
Another way to prevent Ice Dam formation is to remove snow from the roof when possible. With assistance, use a stepladder and roof rake to remove the lower 4-6 feet of snow. This will free up moisture and allow it to flow off the roof.
When roof damage has occurred, contact your insurance agent for qualified contractors in your area. Ensure to have them identify water entry points and install a temporary cover and drainage system. Lower the temperature in the affected area(s) by improving ventilation and adding insulation. Any roof replacement should include the installation of an ice and water shield.