‘Ice Dams’ Can Cause Water Damage That Could Weaken The Entire Structure Of Your Home
Ice and Water Shield
What Is An 'Ice Dam'?
Ice dams are formed when the gutter system becomes filled with moisture which when frozen forms a "dam" at the eaves of the roof. When additional moisture gathers on the roof and is not able to run off due to the "dam" at the gutter line, this moisture becomes a frozen layer on the roof surface and may back-up towards the peak of the roof.
What Causes My Home To Leak?
Ice dam related leaks occur when warm, heated air from the building migrates through the roof deck and warms the underside of the roof. With outside temperatures keeping the top outside layer of moisture frozen the warm deck/roof melts the bottom layer of ice returning it to a liquid state. This under layer of water will run down the shingles until it meets the "dam" at the gutter line. With no escape route, the water pools, then backs-up underneath the shingles and enters the attic area through nail holes and seams in the roof deck.
Why Does My Roof Not Keep The Water Out?
Shingle roof systems are designed to channel water from the high points of the roof to the lower sections where it should exit the roof either into the gutter system or simply onto the ground. Shingle roof systems are not really designed to hold water or prevent water from entering from underneath.
What Can I Do When An Ice Dam Happens?
Ice dam related leaks are caused simply because the water could not escape from the shingled roof area. This is not a design flaw with the roof system or an indication of a poorly installed roof. Ice dams are winter storm conditions, which prevent the shingle roof system from shedding water as designed.
The only corrective action that can be taken is to remove the barrier of ice at the gutter line or remove the ice build-up on the roof area before it melts from underneath. It must be noted that working on a roof under these conditions is very dangerous. The risk of injury should always be weighed against the cost of repair. Your best move is to call Abe Lincoln Services. Also, in removing ice from the gutter and roof, you may cause damage to these areas that will require professional repair. Again, the cost of water damage repair may be less than the cost of a roof, gutter repair or professional help.
What Can I Do To Prevent Ice Dams?
While there is no cure for ‘ice damming’, the following steps can minimize the prospect:
• Make sure your attic area has adequate insulation.
• Make sure your attic insulation does not cover your soffit air in-take vents. Add soffit vents if your home currently does not have any.
• Make sure your attic area has sufficient air exhaust outlets (gable vents, ridge vents and free air vents) and that the airflow is distributed throughout the attic space. Peak mounted ridge vents such as cobra ridge vents can maximize airflow in attic areas.
• Products such as an ‘Ice & Water Shield’ can be installed at the eaves of the home, around dormers and in the valley areas under the shingles. This will prevent water from entering the home unless it dams higher than the ‘ice and water’ shield protection, which is usually three feet from the gutter line.
• Electric heat tapes can be installed in the gutter system or in extreme cases, can be installed on the lower sections of the roof to melt the ice before dams are formed.
• Homes and buildings with cathedral or open ceilings may want to consider installing ceiling fans near the peak of the ceiling to help push the warmer air away from these areas.
Who Is Responsible For Ice Dams And The Resulting Leaks?
"Ice dams’ are the result of winter storm conditions. Since they are storm related and not a roof flaw, water damage is usually not covered by shingle manufacturer’s warranties.
• There are many products on the market to improve the capability of established homes to fend off ‘ice dam’ leaks. Abe Lincoln Services is able to provide an ever-increasing number of products and related information for their clients to choose from.
• Final responsibility for maintaining your roof remains with each homeowner, who must weigh the cost of proper prevention and protection against the probable cost of damage plus the inconvenience if an ‘ice dam’ leak occurs.
How Do Ice Dams Occur?
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