What Are Ice Dams, and How To Prevent Them

With the winters we get here in Greensboro, NC, ice dams might not be at the top of your list of things to worry about. However, you should start thinking about these conditions and planning what you’d do if you had an ice dam issue. Even without major snowfalls, ice dams can form and quickly lead to serious damage to your roof.

What Are Ice Dams?

Any local roofer will be able to tell you that ice dams are a serious threat to your roof. At the most basic level, they’re exactly what they sound like—a dam made out of ice that forms at the edge of your roof.

Like any other dam, this chunk of ice will block the flow of water. That’s going to lead to serious roof damage and make the problem even worse by providing more water to freeze and grow the ice dam.

What Can Ice Dams Do to My Roof?

Keeping your roof free of standing water is just about the most basic aspect of roof maintenance. You don’t want water getting inside your roof because it can cause massive structural damage over time. That’s why you have shingles, tiles, or some other roofing system on your roof. It allows water to run cleanly off the roof and away from the structure.

However, roofing materials don’t protect water when they’re completely submerged. This standing water will seep in under your shingles, penetrating the roof structure below. Even in very mild cases, this can cause mold and mildew issues in your attic and home, posing a health risk.

In the worst-case scenario, the moisture will begin to rot and affect wooden structural elements. This goes far beyond typical roof maintenance to fix and will likely require a roof replacement to restore the integrity of your home. With so much at risk, you can’t afford to let ice dams affect your home.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

While you might think that broken gutters or major snowfalls cause ice dams, your attic is the real culprit behind them. Basically, ice dams are much more likely to form when there is a big temperature difference between the surface of your roof and inside your attic.

When this happens, the heat inside your attic melts any snow or ice on your roof, at which point it runs toward the edge. The problem is that the overhang of your roof won’t be in contact with the attic, so the ice will freeze again due to the cold surface.

As this happens repeatedly, the ice will accumulate until there is a significant ice dam. Now, any water melted by your attic’s warmth that runs down the roof will begin to pool behind the dam, leaving ample time to seep into your roof in Greensboro, NC.

Keep in mind that this can all happen underneath any snow cover on your roof, so a simple visual inspection from the ground won’t necessarily tell you if you’ve got ice dams. If something seems off, you can always reach out to your local roofers to get to the bottom of it.

How Can I Deal with Ice Dams?

Prevention is always the best way to go about dealing with ice dams. While the temperature of your attic is the most serious threat, you should also consider your gutters. If you keep up with roof maintenance and have effective drainage, you’ll be less likely to have to deal with ice dams.

You should also make sure that you have effective and undamaged attic insulation. When the temperature inside the attic and on the roof’s surface is the same, water doesn’t melt and refreeze. This means you won’t develop ice dams.

In the short term, you can reach out to a local roofer in your area to deal with ice dams that have already formed. Remember that these can fall suddenly if you’re trying to dislodge them and can be quite heavy. You’re better off leaving this kind of work to the professionals.

Professional Roofing Services in Greensboro, NC

Are you concerned that ice dams or other issues over the course of the winter have left your roof damaged? A reliable inspection from the local professional roofers at Carolina Home Specialists can reveal what you’re dealing with and catch any potential issues early on.

With our effective roof maintenance, you can protect your home from developing problems like ice dams. Just call us today to see what we can do for you.

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