Winter is upon us and soon enough we will be experiencing ice on the ground and hanging from the eaves. While snow and ice might look pretty while first settled on the top of your home, they can cause immense damage to the structure of your roof. The result of snow and ice on the gutters and eaves is typically ice dams on the roof.
The Problems that can Occur
Those pretty icicles that hang from your gutters can suddenly cause your shingles and gutters to become loose or even fall off. It can even cause water to back up in the gutters and eventually leak into your home. This could lead to extensive water damage inside the home including mold, mildew, peeling paint or wallpaper and damaged walls, ceilings and floors that will need replacement.
How do Ice Dams Occur?
If you have an insulated attic, it gets quite warm up there – especially on the roof. This will immediately melt the snow at the very top of your home. The problem is that it does not warm the exterior of your home at the eaves – they remain frigid cold and are capable of freezing. The snow and ice melts off the top of your home, runs down to the eaves and becomes a solid frozen block. This then backs up your gutters, causing the water to enter your home.
Preventing the Damage
The best way to prevent ice dam damage is to have the proper insulation in your attic combined with proper ventilation. This allows the attic to become heated enough to prevent the roof from freezing, but also allows the proper amount of exchange between warm and cold air to allow the snow to eliminate itself naturally without drastically melting, causing severe issues within your gutters.
If you start to notice dark or discolored spots on your walls or ceiling, the first place to check is your attic to see if you have water infiltration from ice accumulation in your gutters. If you do find that this has happened to your home, you should contact professionals right away to assist you as handling any type of damage from ice dams on the roof without proper training can be very dangerous.