If you live in a cold snowy area, you’ve probably seen homes with long icicles hanging from the edge of the roof. While many of us attribute this to a sign of the winter season, the accumulation of ice is actually a warning sign that your home may be at risk. What I’m talking about here is ice dams. If they’re left unattended, they could create big problems that are very expensive to fix.
So what is an ice dam? Technically speaking, an ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow or water from draining off the roof. As the ice dam grows, the melting snow pulls up behind the dam and eventually makes its way under the shingles, which may leak into the home.
Ice dams are usually caused by a combination of heavy snowfall, poor ventilation, and inadequate insulation in the attic. Here’s how it works. So, let’s say you’ve got a few inches of snow on your roof and the outside temperature is below freezing. The warmer areas in your attic begin to melt the snow and that melted snow runs down your roof underneath the snow until it reaches the colder section of your roof, such as the soffits valleys or gutters. When the water hits these cold areas, it begins to freeze and creates an ice dam. As the snow continues to thaw the warmer section, it feeds the ice dam allowing it
to grow bigger and bigger until it covers the portion of your roof that allows it to remain frozen. The problem escalates when the melted snow pools behind the ice dam and begins to look for openings that allow it to flow into your attic, exterior walls, or crawl spaces. Even if the water doesn’t leak into the home, it may begin to rust the fasteners that were used to install your shingles, which over time will create its own leak point. Incidentally, if you’re in the process of hiring a professional roofing contractor, you should ask them about using IKO’s StormShield, ArmorrGard, or GoldShield ice and water protectors. These products are specifically designed to be installed under the shingles in the roof areas that are most susceptible to ice dams and roof leaks. You’ll want to make sure your contractor understands the local building code requirements and verifies that they are compliant with those codes.
So, what do you do if you have ice dams and you want to get rid of them? First of all, I would ask you to please keep in mind that performing ice dam removal is risking severe personal injury and it may damage the roof if it’s not done properly. This is why we always recommend you call a professional roofing contractor such as an IKO ShieldPro Plus contractor.
If you do choose to fix it yourself, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind.
– Properly ventilate and insulate the Attic because the main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic.
– Never walk on a snow-covered roof and make sure if you’re using a ladder that you follow the proper safety procedures.
– Purchase a roof rake designed for snow removal and carefully pull it down the slope of the roof line. Never pull snow across the roof as it will damage your shingles.
– Very carefully chip away at the ice or chip through the ice dam so the water can flow through but be careful to not puncture or damage the shingles.
– Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow off the roof. These chemicals are very corrosive, and the runoff of these chemicals can also damage your landscaping.
Regardless of how you plan to get rid of your ice dams, you should make a point to schedule a roof inspection immediately after the winter season. A professional roofing contractor will be able to assess what is needed and make recommendations that will minimize your risk and increase the lifespan of your roof.
For a list of IKO’s ShieldPro Plus contractors in your area, please go to the IKO contractor locator provided at IKO.com. Thank you for watching this video and good luck on a successful roofing project.