Removing Ice Dams Before They Can Damage Your Home
An “ice dam” is a winter time backup in your home’s gutter system that could allow water to seep under your roof, into your attic and down into the structure of your home. The first sign of an ice dam is typically the glittering icicles hanging down from the edge of your gutters. Ice dams can cause serious (and expensive) damage. We can help prevent ice dams from forming or remove them before they cause damage.
How Ice Dams Form
When your roof is subject to temperature differentials between the area over the attic and the bottom few feet near the eave it is vulnerable to ice dams and subsequent damaging water leaks. As snow melts across the upper reaches of the roof, it trickles down toward the eave.
When the roof temperature at the eave is below freezing the trickle of water freezes, building up layer upon layer until a “dam” of ice eventually forms. Water collects behind it, forming a small pool. This pooled water rises under shingles until it seeps into your home through holes, gaps or cracks in your roof’s underlayment and decking.
How Much Damage Can an Ice Dam Cause?
Gravity causes water that seeps under your roof surface to flow downward and spread. The water can saturate insulation until it is no longer effective. It can soak the roof deck itself, and it can be absorbed into structural beams and rafters, weakening them so that their load bearing ability is diminished. Water spilling over blocked gutters can flow down the outside of your home, staining the siding and pooling at the base of the foundation to cause further structure decay.
A particularly insidious problem caused by water seepage from ice dams is the formation of black mold inside your home’s walls that can weaken their structure. Black mold causes ugly stains on ceilings and walls that can spread. Worse, it can result in respiratory problems that can be serious for infants, the elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system.
Removing Ice Dams with Steam
Ice dams can be difficult to remove. Not only is the ice stubborn and often very thick, but removal also usually occurs in cold, slippery conditions that make working along a roof’s edge tricky and dangerous. It should be done by a qualified expert like Twin Cities Siding Professionals.
The safest way to remove ice from your gutters or roof’s edge is by using live steam. At Twin Cities Siding Professionals we have the equipment and experience necessary to provide this important service safely and efficiently. The high temperature steam we use can clear most roof edges in 1-3 hours, all without damaging the underlying structure.
Trying to break down an ice dam with a hammer or pick can cause even more damage to your roof, as frozen roof tiles and shingles can be brittle and easily break. Similarly, using a power washer to remove ice dams can do more harm than good.
Preventing Ice Dams
Keeping ice dams from forming is the best way to protect your roof and home. Inhibiting ice dams from forming starts at the top peak of your roof. A properly vented roof can help keep attic temperatures balanced, which deters the cycle of “freeze and thaw” that allows ice dams to form.
It also helps if your eaves are shielded with a barrier layer, typically a self-adhering rubberized asphalt and fiberglass mat that self-seals when penetrated by fasteners. This can help prevent (or at least delay) water seepage from an ice dam backup. You can also have an electric warming heat cable system installed along the lower part of your roof. This raises the temperature of the roof edge to prevent melted snow from refreezing and forming an ice dam.
Another helpful step is to install a protective cover system for your gutters to keep debris out and help keep water flowing, preventing clogs and backups.
If a heavy snow occurs, removing the snow pack from your roof can help reduce the amount of snow melt available to form ice dams. This won’t prevent them entirely but can work to minimize damage. CAUTION: Snow removal from a roof deck can be dangerous and should be entrusted to professionals like the team at Twin Cities Siding Professionals.
Call Twin Cities Siding Professionals for Ice Dam Prevention and Ice Dam Removal
Don’t let an ice dam damage your home! Call us today at (651) 967-0873 for safe ice dam removal.
Better yet, call to schedule a FREE inspection and recommendations on how we can help prevent ice dams from causing structural damage.