Prevent Ice Damming—And Harmful Leaks

Posted on: February 1, 2014

With multiple winter blasts this year, we have been dealing with one of the worst issues associated with winter, ICE DAMMING. We want to take a moment to explore what ice damming is and how it occurs—what you read could prevent harmful leaks inside your home this winter. An ice dam is formed when rising heat from the house melts the blanket of snow and ice on your roof from the bottom up, sending water trickling down the roof. When that water hits the cold eaves, it refreezes and forms a dam, preventing proper drainage.

As the process of melting and refreezing continues, water gets trapped behind the dam and backs up under the shingles. Eventually, that water can leak into your house thorugh windows or the ceiling.

How to Prevent Ice Damming Before It Occurs

  1. Use an ice and water-shield membrane when installing any new roof. This will protect the first 3′ of the roof line at the eves from water backing up as shown in the picture and this should also be run in the valleys where snow can sit. (Ask you builder for this if you are building a new home, it is a minimal cost but not always standard)
  2. Seal off penetrations to the attic from the living space below around heating supply vents, recessed cans, ceiling fans etc… to keep the warm in the home and out of the attic.
  3. Insure you have proper attic insulation. Today’s building code requires a minimum of an R-38 or 10″.

These simple things will cost you less than the damage and frustration caused by ice damming.

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