What’s Ice Damming and How Does It Damage a Roof?

What’s Ice Damming and How Does It Damage a Roof?

For most of the United States, winter brings excess snow, rain, and wind. When snow piles up on your roof, it can lead to a serious drainage problem called ice damming. If you don’t fix it immediately, it’ll eventually damage your roof. What exactly is ice damming, and how does it damage a roof?

What’s Ice Damming?

Ice damming is the formation of a crest of ice at the edge of the roof, preventing the melting snow from draining off the roof. This forms pools of water (dams) on the roof. If you don’t remove this water from your roof, it will lead to severe damage.

The only way you can get rid of the damming problem from your roof is to understand how the dams form. That way, you can come up with the best solution to keep ice dams off your roof. Several factors contribute to ice damming, but the main one is a warm roof. If your attic doesn’t have enough insulation, heat from the house will leak out through the attic, melting the snow stuck on the roof.

The melted snow will run down toward the gutters and pass through colder parts of the roof, causing it to freeze and form an ice dam. So, as more snow continues to melt, more ice dams are forming on the roof. These dams prevent rainwater and melted snow from getting to the gutters for proper drainage.

Instead of getting drained, this water will back up behind the ice dams or flow over the gutter, forming large icicles down the side of your house. Heat can also escape through the roof using the holes created when running utility cables or through the entrance to your attic. Recessed lighting on the floor below will allow heat to leak into the attic, causing the snow on your roof to melt.

Damages Caused by Ice Damming

Ice damming causes shingles to lift and can leave your gutters torn off. When the shingles are lifted, they’ll allow water to leak into the house, causing flooding and severe damage to your attic, drywall, insulation, and electrical system. It will also lead to dampness and the formation of mold.

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