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Ice Dams: What You Need to Know

Ice dams can cause considerable damage to your roof and are a tell-tale sign that your roof most likely needs repair. Learn more on The Stonemark Company’s latest blog.

Snow isn’t something that we experience in Nashville as much as many other places in the country, but it’s still something we do get to enjoy or contend with — depending on how you look at it. With snow and ice comes other concerns that homeowners should be aware of such as ice dams and the icicles that can also result in roof damage.

What Are Ice Dams?

Ice dams are shelves of ice that form on the edges of our roof and gutters and are a result of the temperature of the attic of our homes. Because the temperature of our home’s attic is warmer than freezing, the snow that sits on our roof will start to melt. As the melting snow and water slides down the roof, it will come in contact with the edge of our roof and gutters. Because these sections of our roof are cooler than the roof above, the snow and water will refreeze creating a large ice formation that can sometimes result in large icicles and icy patches on the ground below the ice dam.

Do My Gutters Cause Ice Dams?

It would be easy to assume that the gutters of your home are the issue that is causing the ice dam. However, even if your gutters are clear from proper cleaning, ice dams will still form as a result of your roof needing repair. Clogged gutters exacerbate the formation of icicles and icy patches on the ground, but ultimately, to get rid of the ice dams, your roof will need some attention.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Ice dams form as a result of the temperature of your roof. Because hot air rises, the heated air of your home will rise to the highest point of your home. If there isn’t proper ventilation, this air will be allowed to stay in your attic and can carry moisture as well. As a result, the temperature of your roof rises to above freezing temperatures, causing the snow on your roof to melt and slide down your roof. Because the eaves and gutters of your home are closer to the temperature outside, the melting snow will refreeze as ice allowing ice dams and icicles to form.

Why Are Ice Dams Harmful?

It is easy to want to ignore the formation of ice dams and icicles as they are pretty to look at. But the beauty of the ice will lose its luster when you discover the damage that the ice dams are causing. Ice dams that form can pull your home’s gutter and fascia off your home. They can also cause your roof to break apart as a result of the expansion of the water turning into ice. What’s more, melting snow can easily become trapped under the ice dam and leak into your home resulting in water staining, water damage, and even rot and mold growth. Additionally, when your attic has poor circulation and because the air that rises in your home is moist, it can cause mold growth in your roof’s insulation.

How Do I Get Rid of Ice Dams?

Ultimately, to get rid of ice dams, you will need to fix the ventilation system of your roof and may even need to invest in roof repair or replacement. To achieve proper ventilation, you need vents both on the eves of your roof as well as the ridge, but achieving optimal ventilation for your roof has to be tailored to the size and shape of your roof.

What Should I Do If I Have Ice Dams?

If you have ice dams, there are some things you can do right away to prevent damage.

Remove Ice Dams

A roof rake and other tools can help to remove ice dams as well as de-ice. However, be sure to gently remove the ice dams to avoid damaging your roof. Also, if you use de-icer, be careful with the kind you choose as it can also damage your roof and be harmful for vegetation and animals below. If you are on a ladder, be sure to observe all safety precautions.

Clear Gutters

Though gutters aren’t the root cause of the ice dam issue, it doesn’t hurt to make sure all leaves, twigs, mud, and other debris are removed from your gutters. By having gutters that can function at their best it can help to alleviate the effects of ice dams.

Call Your Local Roofer In Nashville

Ultimately, it is best to call your local roofing company in Nashville so they can help you not only address the root cause of the ice dams but also to make sure that your roof is in tip-top shape to keep your home protected. Call The Stonemark Company to learn more and get a free estimate!