What is an Ice Dam and How Will it Hurt My Roofing?



Ice Dams on Wautoma Roofs

An ice dam is ridge of ice that forms along the edge of a roof, creating a literal dam that prevents your Wautoma home’s roof from shedding water and snow. Ice dams can prevent snow from draining off of your roof as it melts. As the water rests at the edge of the ice dam it may leak through the roofing which can cause damage to your walls, insulation, ceilings, and more.

The Wautoma roofers at Goody’s Roofing Contractors can assist you with any problems you have with ice dams, and we’ve also gathered together some facts to make you familiar with these common nuisances.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Ice dams occur only when three conditions are in place: snow cover, freezing outside temperatures, and heat being lost through the roof.

The snow at the top of your roof will melt because of the heat escaping from your Wautoma home. As it runs down the roof, it comes, once again, to freezing temperatures. When it refreezes, you’re left with an ice dam.

Although the primary cause of melting snow is your home losing heat, it can also happen because of sunlight. And it doesn’t need to suddenly get warm out. With temperatures as low as 14°F outdoors and 23°F in the attic, enough sunlight can be transmitted through six inches of snow to cause it to start melting on the roof.

What Problems Can Ice Dams Cause?

Ice dams are hugely problematic because they can cause water to leak through your roofing, which in turn can cause a host of other issues:

  • Rotting roof decking, exterior and interior walls, and framing.
  • Mold growth (which can in turn cause respiratory issues).
  • Damaged insulation.
    • Wet insulation won’t work very well, and chronically wet insulation won’t even decompress once it dries. Damaged insulation will allow more heat to escape, will lead to more ice dams, creating a vicious cycle.

Ice dams can easily cause all of these problems for your Wautoma home. So what can you do about it?

What Steps Can I Take to Prevent Ice Dams from Forming?

There are some things you can do to ensure ice dams never form in the first place:

  • Install a metal roof. You still might get ice formations, but water won’t ever leak through. Snow and ice are also much more likely to slide off of metal than other forms of roofing. However, metal roofs may also need a snow retention system to prevent other problems from occurring with snow.
  • Make sure your Wautoma home’s attic is adequately sealed. If you can keep heat out of the attic, you’ll see the whole problem go away.
  • Move or elevate any exhaust systems near the top of the roof. They may be melting a lot of the snow.
  • Get any snow off of your roof as soon as possible.

If you’ve had problems with ice dams in Wautoma, call Goody’s Roofing Contractors at 888-568-7738, or fill out our online request form.