What Are Ice Dams and Are They Dangerous?
Ice dams form in winter weather, and can cause significant issues to roofs. Learn how to prevent them in this guide from Rainville-Carlson.
In the winter, your roof faces particular risks from storms and icy weather. But of all the damage your roof may suffer, ice dams might be the most concerning.
While little-known, it’s important to know what they are and how to prevent them. Otherwise, you could end up with significant, expensive roof damage.
What Is an Ice Dam?
An ice dam is a build-up of ice that forms along the eaves of a rooftop and keeps water and snowfall from draining. While the occasional icicle isn’t a big cause for concern, lots of ice along your roof’s edge usually indicates an issue. And if left alone, they put your roof at risk of leaking or failing.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams occur when there isn’t adequate ventilation and insulation, creating a cycle of freezing and thawing as temperatures change inside and outside. The heat inside a building rises to the top, and poor insulation causes the snow and ice on the roof to melt. Then, as it gets colder again, it will re-form into ice. As this cycle continues, an ice dam will form.
Ice Damming on Flat Roofs
While ice dams are often a problem for sloped roofs common to residential buildings, they can also happen to commercial roofs. The cycle causes ice to accumulate near drains, which threatens the drainage system and leads to water leaks.
Ice dams aren’t the only problems a Minnesota winter brings. Explore our blog article about winter roofing maintenance tips.
What Kind of Damage Do Ice Dams Cause?
The main concern with ice dams is the myriad of problems they can cause to a roofing system, including:
- Clogged and broken gutters
- Water leaks
- Mold problems
- Broken shingles and tiles
- Sagging rooflines
- Water-logged insulation
For these reasons, it’s best to address them as soon as they form, or better yet, have sloped or flat roof ice dam prevention services performed as part of a winter maintenance program. If left unchecked or unattended, more than one of the above problems can arise—all of which can cause hazardous conditions, costly repairs, and even premature roof replaement in severe instances. Don’t costs your business substantial capital by ignoring simple routine maintenance adn winter prep services.
Advice for Flat Roof Ice Dam Prevention
These tips can keep ice dams from becoming a problem:
- Upgrade your insulation: Poor insulation in your attic is the most significant cause of ice dams, so check if it is in good condition or prepare for an upgrade.
- Inspect your building’s ventilation and drainage systems: You want to ensure the roofing system can drain adequately, so have a roofing contractor assess this for you.
- Keep gutters in good condition: To help keep your gutters from clogging and breaking due to ice build-up, keep them in good condition and consider adding gutter guards.
These issues can be difficult to spot, so it’s best to let an experienced and trusted roofing contractor, like the professionals at Rainville-Carlson, inspect your roof to ensure it can withstand the coldest parts of winter.
Safe and Effective Flat Roof Ice Dam Removal
Along with effectively preventing ice dams, the roofers at Rainville-Carlson also remove them. While you might be tempted to try it on your own, it’s generally unsafe to do so. Icy, snowy roofs pose many safety risks, especially if you need experience or proper roofing equipment. So, getting up on your roof could put you at risk of injury.
Also, removal can cause roof damage unless it’s done properly. If you try to break the ice, this could lead to broken or torn shingles and tiles. Instead, our roofing experts use misting methods that melt the ice thoroughly to avoid roof damage.
Make Rainville-Carlson Your Ice Dam Prevention and Removal Team
Notice ice dams forming on your residential or commercial roof? Don’t stress. Instead, trust that the professionals at Rainville-Carlson can remedy the problem safely and effectively. We also provide roofing inspection services that ensure your roof is ready to withstand the winter. We can also upgrade your roofing system to prevent ice dams and other storm damage through increased insulation and better drainage.
Contact us today to learn more about our roofing repair services or to request a service visit.
Call Rainville-Carlson to request ice dam removal services or to learn more about prevention.