LA Design + Construction

Getting Ready For Another Winter, Protect Your Roof From Ice Dams

Getting Ready For Another Winter, Protect Your Roof From Ice Dams

Ice dams aren’t just something that happens in Arctic streams; ice dams on your roof can be very expensive.

An ice dam is usually caused when there is a significant snowfall followed by very low temperatures. All of the snow on your roof will freeze. Then, heat rising from the living areas of your house will escape through the roof, melting some of the snow. The ice and snow near the edge of the roof will remain frozen. This creates a dam and melted snow collects behind it on the roof.

Roofs are meant to send water off and away; they are not designed to hold pools of water. When an ice dam causes large quantities of water to gather on the roof, it can cause a leak or, worse, cause the roof to collapse.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

The most effective way to prevent ice dams is simply to plan ahead. By having adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and proper re-roofing, you can avoid a costly repair in the middle of winter.

Adequate attic insulation – Insulating your attic correctly can prevent hot spots on the roof that cause the ice and snow to melt and create a pool of water. There is nothing that you can do about the effects of sunlight, but proper insulation will prevent heat from inside the home from melting the snow and ice.

Pull-down attic stairs and open stairwells can leak a great deal of heat. They should be sealed so that heat is not lost into the cold attic. Even a few degrees difference between different parts of the roof can have an effect on the melting of snow and ice.

Also, look at kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. In older homes, they often vent directly into the attic, creating a great deal of heat and moisture in the attic.

Attic ventilation – Vents are an easy way to balance the temperatures in the attic. Most roofs have vents under the soffits that allow air to flow in and out of the attic.
Many homes are built with these vents, but homeowners will often cover the vents up, assuming that they are losing heat or simply not noticing them.

If your attic doesn’t have adequate ventilation, it can be a very easy and inexpensive project to install additional vents. The open air flow can help to balance temperatures. This type of ventilation can be provided by intake vents and exhaust vents.

Re-roofing – This might be the most important thing to do. A new roof can prevent water from getting into the home, even if it collects. Fresh roofing can keep minor issues from turning into major problems.

Waterproof Shingle Underlayment (WSU) is a sheet of self-sealing polymer that can protect the roof from water damage. A professional roofing company can install this polymer under the shingles in no time and then place new shingle on top.

Because most of these roofing products are guaranteed for decades, an investment now will likely keep you safe and warm well into the future.
We invite you to contact us today for an assessment of your roofing needs. We can help you prevent ice dams and reduce the risk of a ceiling collapse this winter or spring.