The winter season is coming, and with it, so are the festive holidays, family gatherings, and everything else that comes with dealing with the frosty weather. While most of your home’s indoor spaces may be ready to handle the colder months, your outdoors may not be as ready. As a result, formations like ice dams tend to appear on roof eaves during this season.
Though they’re likely to come and go depending on the weather, ice dams can be a nuisance that can damage not just your roof but the rest of your property too. This is why, if you see them forming at the edges of your roof, you should take steps to have them removed as soon as possible to avoid the need for ice damage repair.
What Are Ice Dams and How Do They Form?
Ice dams are ice formations at the eaves or the edges of your roof. True to its name, ice dams’ shape prevents water that’s sloping down your roof from flowing to the gutters or to the ground. This can cause a number of problems on your roof, shingles, gutters, and the rest of your property.
Ice dams are the result of a chain reaction caused by poor attic ceiling insulation and ventilation. Indoor heat rises upwards to your attic. Your attic ceiling insulation may no longer be effective or have gaps around lighting sockets, plumbing fixtures, and other parts of the ceiling that could break the insulation seal. As a result, the warm air bypasses the insulation material and starts to heat certain parts of your roof, which in turn creates uneven temperatures.
After your roofing material heats up to a certain temperature, it’s enough to melt snow and cause the water to slide downwards. Once the water reaches the eaves, which aren’t affected by the heat, it’s exposed to cold temperatures that freeze water into ice. Over time, the flowing water will freeze into an ice dam formation.
What Kind of Damage Can Ice Dams Cause?
Ice dams can be harmful to your property for two reasons.
First, ice dams can become fairly heavy, as it’s the combined weight of the ice, trapped water, and snow at an unsupported point of your roof. This can cause cracks in the roof while also damaging the shingles and gutters. At worst, the ice dams can become so heavy that it collapses areas of the roof.
Second, ice dams can lead to water damage that affects the rest of the property. At some point, the formation will block any additional water from reaching the part of the roof where it can freeze. With nowhere to go, as well as the risk of ice dams creating cracks, the water will seep down from the roof to the interior parts of the property’s structure. This can lead to several types of water damage, such as:
- Water seeping into the insulation material and making it less effective
- Water stains on the ceilings and walls
- Peeling paint and wallpaper
- Sagging ceilings
- Warped and swollen flooring
- Signs of microbial growth around the property
This can also cause long-term damage down the line. For instance, water can seep into the wooden structure of the house and affect its stability. Signs like cracks on the walls can suggest water damage as the beams are no longer sturdy.
How to Clear Ice Dams from Your Roof
There are a number of ways to clear ice dams once they’ve formed. Some of these methods require preparation before it starts snowing, so see which one best suits your current situation. Here are a few methods:
- Use A Rake: While many people use a long rake or hoe to break ice dams, this isn’t your best option. You could risk damaging your roof and gutters.
- Install Heated Cables: Attach electrically heated cables underneath your eaves. If you see signs of ice dams, you can switch the cables on and wait for the ice dams to melt.
- Sprinkle Ice Melter Products: Avoid using common rock salt, as this can corrode your gutters and other metal fixtures on your roof. Many hardware stores stock ice melters made with calcium chloride or magnesium chloride.
- Maintain Your Soffit Vents and Ridge Vents: This allows better ventilation and more even temperatures as it circulates cold air around the roof.
Let Restoration 1 Deliver Ice Damage Repair Services Needed for Your Home
While these are some effective ways to clear ice dams from your roof, it’s a lot more practical to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. There’s no telling when your roof will reach its breaking point or when water can start to leak in. However, if you start to see signs of water damage, have the professionals at Restoration 1 of Metro Detroit provide reliable ice damage repair service to restore your roof to working condition to protect your property throughout the winter months.
Get in touch with Restoration 1 today.