Damage from an ice dam can turn into one of the costliest winter roof repair scenarios you are likely to ever see, short of having your roof collapse. Most people don't even know what an ice dam is, let alone the fact that there are some simple ice dam remedies that can save you thousands of dollars in home repairs. Here's a quick look at what causes ice dams, what they are, and what you can do to prevent them.
What's an Ice Dam?
An ice dam is a "dam" that forms along the edge of your roof -- and naturally, it's made of ice. When you have a nice, warm roof that comes in contact with your roof gutters which are really cold, the result is that melting water turns to ice at the edge of your roof. That forms the "dam" which then redirects more ice back under your roof shingles. When the ice under your shingles melts again, the resulting water has a lot of different directions it can go -- and none of them are good. Ice dams can also result if the weather goes through several rapid freeze-thaw-freeze-again periods in a day.
Ice Dam Damage Repair Cost
Home repairs that result from an ice dam can range from "not too bad" to "catastrophic." In some cases, the damage is primarily to the roof or shingles, and the interior of the home doesn't experience much leaking. In a worst-case scenario, well... imagine water silently trickling down inside the walls until you have several fish tanks' worth of dirty water pooling between floors in a multi-story house -- and then the ceiling collapses and dumps everything into your living room.
Anytime water works its way into your home, it has the potential to do a lot of damage. If the problem is not identified and dealt with early, you have the potential to develop a mold problem. Water can also short out wiring, damage the wood construction inside your house, and so on. None of the problems an ice dam can potentially cause are "good," in other words.
Ice Dam Prevention
The easiest way to prevent ice dams is to try to keep the snow off your roof before it can go through a freeze-thaw cycle in your gutters. If you have a relatively flat roof and you're fit enough to do the work yourself, you can sweep the snow off your roof. If you think there's any danger of slipping and falling from your roof, call us at Vertex Roofing so we can come to sweep it off for you.
You can also add insulation to your attic to prevent your roof from getting as warm in the wintertime (this will also lower your heating costs). A summertime project that can help is to add more outside ventilation to your attic space. Sealing your attic near the gutters, so there are fewer areas for warm air to escape, is another option. Plus, here's an additional tip: Don't use driveway/sidewalk salt on your roof to melt snow, because it's terrible for your shingles.
Professional Roof Repair and Maintenance Services
The good news is that ice dams are preventable, and if you discover one early enough, you can get rid of it before it does any major damage to your home. If you have any additional questions about ice dam prevention or roof repairs, contact us at Vertex Roofing right away.
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