An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the bottom of a roof and prevents water from running off the roof. When water behind an ice dam backs up, it can leak into the home and cause water damage, such as cracked ceilings and peeling paint.
How Ice Dams Form
Ice dams form after a snowfall, when snow melts on a warmer part of the roof then flows down to the colder eave overhang where it refreezes. As the ice accumulates, it creates a blockage that prevents additional snowmelt from draining off the roof. The ice begins to back up under the shingles, where it melts once more, drenching the sheathing and eventually seeping into the attic. In addition to causing interior water damage, ice dams can damage gutters and pose a safety hazard to the occupants.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
The key to preventing the formation of ice dams is to keep the attic cold. After a snowfall, a cold roof will have a thick pile of snow, whereas a warm roof will likely have icicles hanging from the eaves.
The first thing to do is insulate the attic. Before adding insulation, however, it is recommended that you find and seal gaps that let air from the living portions of the house into the attic and vice versa. The most common areas for air leaks are plumbing holes, recessed lights, attic hatch, furnace flue and behind and under knee walls.
Ducts should also be sealed and insulated. If the heated air from the uninsulated furnace gets into the attic, it will warm the roof and cause snow to melt and refreeze on the roof. Lastly, make sure you have adequate ventilation. It draws out warm air and allows cool, fresh air into the attic.
Whether you need to install attic insulation or remove ice dams, you can count on Neumann Construction. Our top-rated roofing contractors will provide the highest quality of products and workmanship on every project. Call us today at (218) 217-4892, or fill out our convenient contact form for a free consultation and estimate. We work with residents of Brainerd, MN, and other nearby communities.