In the wintertime, icicles extending from your roof may appear to be a gorgeous natural wonder. But, when it comes to the wellbeing of your roof, icicles and ice dams are, unfortunately, the enemy. Ice dams can cause multiple problems for your Lakewood roofing system, potentially leading to expensive roof repairs. Your roof is mainly susceptible to ice dam formation after major winter storms, making it important to implement preventative measures before a storm strikes.
Here, we’ll discuss ice dams, how they form, the dangers they present, and how you can avoid ice dams on your roof in Lakewood.
When snow on the center of your roof melts and flows outward, then freezes on the edge of your roof, an ice dam forms. This icy ridge can keep water from properly draining off of your roof. The water will get backed up behind the ice dam and sit on the surface of your roof until the ice dam is removed, melts away, or the pooled water evaporates. Ice dams alone aren’t generally dangerous to roofing systems; the water that pools behind an ice dam and sits on the surface of the roof is the issue. This water can seep into your roofing system and into your home, creating the risk for water damage.
Ice dams are predominantly caused by inconsistencies in roof surface temperature. If heat leaks from your home to your roof and there is snow on the surface of your roof, it may unevenly heat your roof. The center of your roof will likely become warmer than the edges, causing the snow to melt and flow to the edges. If the edges of your roof are below 32℉, (which can only occur if the temperature outside is below 32℉) the melted snow will re-freeze and create an ice dam. Since the temperature here in Lakewood can easily drop below 32℉ in the winter, the risk of ice dam formation is high for many homeowners.
It’s worth noting that in rare cases, the surface of a roof may be unevenly heated by the sun and cause an ice dam. But, this is far less likely than uneven surface heating caused by heat loss from your home.
Ice dams can continue to grow as additional melted snow freezes at the edges of your roof. The larger the ice dam becomes, the longer it will take to naturally go away. Additionally, larger ice dams will often lead to larger pools of water sitting on your roof.
Ice dams are dangerous for your Lakewood roofing system because they lead to pooled water on your roof. With water sitting on your roof, instead of draining off of it, one or multiple of these negative effects could occur:
Moisture and humidity create a prime environment for mold growth. When water sits on your roof behind an ice dam, your roofing materials and, eventually, your interior walls and ceilings, will be exposed to excess moisture. This can lead to mold growth. Once mold infiltrates your home, it can cause allergic reactions in members of your household. Especially for those with underlying respiratory conditions, this is a significant risk.
Your roofing system and attic are likely insulated. The water backed up behind an ice dam can drench this insulation. When insulation is wet, it won’t function to prevent heat loss from your home. This will only worsen the ice dam problem.
When wood is wet, it will eventually rot. When your roof decking, rafters, wall sheathing, and wall framing is exposed to excess moisture due to an ice dam, the rotting process may begin. If your roofing materials and interior wall framing rots, you’ll need to have it replaced.
Paint and moisture don’t mix well. Water that leaks into your home as a ramification of an ice dam can seep into your interior walls. Eventually, this will cause wall paint to peel, blister, or bubble.
For more information about ice dams and how to prevent them, contact All Seasons Exteriors today.
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