Ice Dams: The Ins and Outs

When you step outside and look back at your home in the wintertime, you’ll see a picturesque roof blanketed in snow—if you’ve maintained it, that is. If your roof isn’t structurally sound and ready with the right ventilation come the cold season, a dastardly foe could be lurking beneath the surface: an ice dam!

Left to their own devices, ice dams can cause anything from moisture damage to mold problems to structural strain. To keep your family safe and your roof sturdy, you’ll need to know your enemy—and how to prevent it from arriving in the first place. Perfect Exteriors, your Monticello team of home exterior contractors, is here with the full scoop below.

Ice Dams Defined

An ice dam is much like its name implies it to be: melted snow dammed up behind a ridge of ice, preventing it from leaving your roof. Though your roof is designed to handle rain, it’s only designed to do so when it sheds the stuff; backed-up water can seep up under your shingles and cut down to your roof’s deck, opening the door for mold and moisture damage.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

The short answer: through a complicated interaction between the heat of your roof and the heat of your home. Check out this article from The Spruce to learn more. The short version: When your roofing is warm enough to melt the snow near the top, but below freezing near the bottom, a ridge of ice slowly builds up on the latter portion. As the ice ridge gets bigger and bigger, water backs up behind it and, unable to drain or refreeze, it camps out on your shingles, causing the aforementioned water damage and potential mold growth.

How Can I Prevent Ice Dams?

Proper roofing ventilation is the number-one way to stop ice dams from forming, as it helps to keep your roof at a uniform temperature and thus stop the melt-refreeze cycle. Learn more about the additional hazards of improper roofing ventilation in our roofing company blog “Improper Attic Ventilation: A Silent Roof Killer.” If it’s at all a concern of yours, contact your local provider of residential roofing services for an assessment.

Additional home insulation can also help keep the ice dams away, as contradictory as it may sound. However, when you insulate your living space you prevent heat from escaping into your attic, which in turn can help to keep it cool and stop the snow atop it from melting.

Perfect Exteriors: Exterior Contractors of the Utmost Quality

As our name implies, we accept nothing but perfection in our work as exterior home contractors. Give our Monticello office a call today at 763-271-8700.