So, you have an ice dam, now what? You obviously want to protect your roof from mold and rot, as well as premature wear and tear on your shingles. But, what is an ice dam? Ice dams are ridges of ice that form on the lower edges of your roof. As the ice melts (or as water sheds off your roof) and freeze, they create an ice dam. For more details, this primer on ice dams explores the basic science behind them. As a result, fast treatment that addresses ice dams mitigates the risk of lasting damage. Finally, to help, the following tips help homeowners treat and prevent ice dams and keep your home dry.
Shovel Your Roof to Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams simply cannot start without a source of heat to cause the excess water. When you shovel the snow and ice from your roof, you are creating steps for early prevention. Although this does not directly address the underlying problem, shoveling snow can:
- ensure it doesn’t happen to begin with; or
- removes further fuel from it before they become much worse.
This may be a difficult thing to do in tight towns like Somerville, MA, however, it is often necessary for any roofing system.
Short Term, Immediate Actions
Once you have raked the snow and excess water from your roof it is time to take steps to alleviate issues in the short term. These short-term steps relate to breaking up and partially melting the ice dam. Additionally, preventing damage to shingles and/or your home’s exterior requires a lot of care. For example, do not use rock salt to melt, or sharp objects as these can do more harm than good. Furthermore, see this article for more tips on possible solutions.
Long Term Ice Dam Prevention
Long term options are your best bet for ice dam prevention and treatment. Since uncontrolled hot spots on the roof are the cause, it can be assumed that treating the underlying issue will help with further issues. Contact an energy or insulation specialist to ensure that your attic is properly insulated with no apparent hot spots. Also, ensuring that your chimney and attic are properly vented will prevent ice dams from getting a hold on your roof.
Ice dam prevention and treatment can be a difficult but necessary task for homeowners. Ensuring proper roofing ventilation and insulation of your attic can prevent a slew of issues from arising down the road. In particular, ice dams are more common in aging homes. In newer homes, roofers don’t often worry about proper roof and attic ventilation, as these issues are usually addressed and remedied during construction.
However, aging homes are more at risk to improper ventilation. Why? Primarily because building codes changed over time. Now, newer buildings follow different codes, which creates more efficient ventilation as new products entered the market. As a result, improper ventilation and lack of interior insulation are the primary culprits for creating ice dams in homes and towns like Cambridge, MA. For example, as a leading roofer in Cambridge, MA, we have vast experience with the lacking ventilation in aging homes. Finally, for more information about ice dam and prevention, check out this post on what causes ice dams in the first place.