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How To Prevent Ice Dams On The Roof

How To Prevent Ice Dams In Park City

What you should be doing to prevent ice dams forming on your roof

Removing a double ice dam

Living in beautiful Park City has many incredible benefits, but our unique climate also poses significant challenges for local homeowners. A major issue that Park City homeowners face is the formation of ice dams.

Ice dams are dangerous, can cause a lot of damage and can lead to expensive repairs. Lets take a look at why ice dams form on Park City homes, and what can be done to prevent them.

Metal Roof Edge Ice Dam: What You Shouldnt Do

Among the many metal roof ice dam preventive measures, you should take, do not consider using ice melt pucks as one of them. While they are easy to use, these roof melt pucks are bad for metal roofs.

Melt pucks are filled with calcium chloride . The major issue here is that it can corrode metal as well.

Once your metal roofing sheets start corroding over time, they will begin to break and cause leaks into your home.

Remove The Snow From Your Roof

Having no snow on your roof is the best, most effective, and cheapest technique of preventing the formation of ice dams. If there is no snow, there is nothing to melt, and the dams have nowhere to form and nothing to form from. It is important to remove all the snow because if there is even a very thin layer of snow left, you still run the risk of it melting and creating ice dams.

The most important thing is always to stay safe. Working on the roof always carries certain dangers of slips and falls, so make sure to wear proper shoes and that your ladder is firmly on the ground while working have someone hold them or tie it to the roof.

You will need a roof rake to remove the snow, and preferably one that is made of plastic or that has some bumpers in the wheels or rollers so that you dont damage your shingles. The best technique from snow removal is to do it one layer at a time, removing smaller bits of snow starting from the bottom.

It is important to work your way up the roof and remove all the snow, because if there is any snow left, even just a small amount on the top of your roof, the ice dam will form in that place where youve stopped raking.

Raking the snow off your roof is not a hard task, though it may be a bit time-consuming, as well as repetitive if the snow keeps falling. However, being thorough and persistent is important, as removing the ice dams and the damages they cause will be harder and more expensive.

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Take Care Of Trees And Branches Overhanging Your Roof

This may not have crossed your mind, but trees that hang over your roof can be a significant factor that causes the ice dams to form on your roof. Tall trees that hang over your house can be great additions during the summer and the hot months as they create shadows and function as a kind of additional insulation, keeping the sun away from your home. But during winter, on the other hand, they can have some negative effects.

The areas on your roof where the trees create shadows will inevitably be cooler than other areas of the roof anywhere from 5 to 15 degrees cooler. When the snow melts and runs down the roof, it will refreeze when it hits these colder spots, forming ice dams on those areas.

Therefore, in order to prevent those cold spots, you should trim your trees and the branches that overhang your roof. This will allow the roof to have an equal and steady temperature throughout, preventing cold spots where melted snow could refreeze.

How Do Ice Dams Form

Ice Damming: Are You At Risk?

When its cold outside, you probably have your heater running inside to stay warm. If you do not have any insulation in your attic, the warm air from your home could seep into the attic.

Ultimately, this ends up heating the underside of your roof. If there is a lot of snow accumulation on the roof, its almost like a blanket with several layers. The warm air in the attic ends up heating the rooftop and the layer of snow sitting upon it, leading it to melt into water that can drip down the slope of the roof. The water runs down your shingles until it reaches the cold overhang and re-freezes, forming the ice dam.

If you experience excessive snowfall at your home, its important to take measures to prevent ice damming on your roof to avoid damage and leaks. The ice dams will grow, acting as a block to stop accumulated snowmelt from draining. The water on the rooftop will get higher, increasing the risk of permanent damage to your shingles and roof.

Below are a few ways to prevent ice damming on your roof.

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How To Prevent Them

Stop ice dams from forming in roof valleys with quality attic insulation. Insulation keeps the heat in and the cold out. Ensure all openings around pipes, wires, and exhaust fans in the attic are sealed shut to contain warm air. Also, have thermal breaks installed under all valleys. These materials prevent heat from flowing through and contributing to ice dams.

Have the roof cleaned at least once a year, as debris that collects in the valleys can hold melting snow. It also helps to remove snow with a roof rake and keep the gutters clear so that moisture can drain efficiently.

For high-quality residential roofing services, trust BradCo Companies in La Vista, NE. The fully licensed, bonded, and insured business has served the Omaha area since 2001, providing reliable services for competitive rates. They’ll help you protect your home from the elements this winter. Call 334-2758 to request an estimate, or visit them online to learn more about their residential roofing services.

Quick Fixes To Get Rid Of Ice Dams

While your goal is to permanently stop ice dams, you might need to use a few quick fixes in the meantime. These tips help you stay on top of ice dams and prevent damage to your home.

Use a snow rake. After a heavy snowfall, give your roof a break by raking the snow off. This inexpensive tool pulls down the snow so it cant melt and then refreeze into an ice dam. Only use a snow rake from the ground or your deck, never from a ladder. And be careful not to break shingles, which can be brittle in bitter cold temperatures.

Try calcium chloride. Avoid using rock salt as it can damage paint and metal on your home. But calcium chloride can help melt ice and get water flowing again.

Install heat cables. Mount heat cables along the edge of your roof and through the downspout so snow melts and runs down the proper channels.

Steam it off. If you have an ice dam already and you can see that there is a leak coming into your home, youll want to remedy it as soon as possible. Check with local roofing companies to see if they have a steamer that can melt the ice off the roof without damaging your shingles. If its too big a job for just you, hire a roofing professional to steam off ice dams.

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Ice Dam Removal: Why They Matter And How To Prevent Them

September 28, 2021 by Shannon Lindquist

Ice dam removal can be dangerous and expensive. Its important to keep your gutters clear to avoid the build-up of these costly obstructions. Learn everything you need to know about ice dams and how to keep them from damaging your home.

Ice dams in gutters can cause water runoff to seep under your shingles, leading to extensive roof damage. Removing ice from gutters can be a long and expensive process, so its best to prevent ice dams before they form.

There are a few ice prevention products on the market, such asHelmet Heat, that can get the job done for you.

How To Prevent Ice Dams On The Roof

Preventing ice dams: Experts show you how to clear snow from roof before thaw | ABC7 Chicago
  • Keep cold outside and heat inside the attic with insulationrated at least R-38.
  • Make sure the attic stays air tight by sealing openings around wiring, plumbing and exhaust fans.
  • Clear debris from roof vents and soffits so that they dont catch and hold melting runoff.
  • Use a roof rake to pull snow off the roof and reduce the chance of dangerous accumulation.
  • Regularly clean gutters and downspouts to avoid clogs that slow down runoff.

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Gutters Vary By Construction

Sectional gutters: strips of 10-20 feet of material that are assembled with seams along the strips. This system comes with corner pieces, end caps and drop outlets that connect downspouts.

Seamless gutters: long strips of aluminum, copper, steel or zinc. The sections have joints or mitre cuts at the corners and rolled out and affixed on a home with a machine.

Gutter manufacturers use several different materials to create their products, including:

  • Vinyl/plastic gutters: made from PVC plastic, they rare virtually dent-free and resist corrosion. They cost less than conventional channels and are lightweight, making them easy to install.
  • Aluminum gutters: are the best option for the installation of a seamless gutter. They move higher volumes of water they are lightweight, have a long life and dont rust.
  • Steel gutters: will fit any budget constraint. They are strong and resist UV rays. Will handle high-volumes of water quickly, can be recycled, durability and flexibility built-in. Many different styles to choose from when you buy steel gutters.
  • Copper gutters offer many features like durability, curb appeal, long lifespan, minimal maintenance, and complement copper roof or other features on the exterior of your home.
  • How To Tell If Your House Actually Has An Ice Dam

    Here are a few signs that your house likely has an ice dam problem:

    • Snow and ice are damming up low on your roof, but your roof is clean and clear at higher points.
    • Melting ice and snow is dripping along the underside of your roof.
    • Icicles that have taken up residency along the edge of your roof and gutters.
    • Ice is forming on the exterior siding of your home.
    • Water is leaking into your home from the attic after a large snowfall. This is a sure sign!

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    Improve Ventilation In Your Attic

    Proper attic ventilation helps keep the air in the attic an even temperature. This is why its important to hire a professional to insulate your attic. Many homeowners who install their own insulation inadvertently cover their own attic vents, which in turn can reduce air flow in the attic and lead to uneven temperatures throughout.

    Permanent Ice Dam Solutions

    How To Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

    If youve done any prior research on the problem of ice dams on your roof, you know that your home and attic need to be properly insulated and air sealed.

    And its true: Insufficient insulation and unsealed air leaks are the core issues that cause destructive ice dams to regularly form on your roof in the winter. And fixing those issues is the only permanent ice dam solution.

    All other ice dam fixes are temporaryincluding a new roof.

    Heres why home insulation and professional air sealing solve the ice dam problem for good.

    Upgrading your home insulation

    Home insulation works by creating a thermal boundary between the interior of your home and outside.

    When a home is under-insulated, or when older insulation starts to wear down, that thermal boundary decreases, causing your home to feel uncomfortableeven drafty or damp. In the winter, insufficient insulation can allow heat to escape through the walls, ceilings, and attics of your home into the great outdoors.

    Basically, youre spending money to warm your home, but that precious heat is being lost due to insufficient insulation and home air leaks. And when that heat escapes through your attic and the roof of your house, snow and ice on the roof melts and refreezes, causing ice dams to form.

    Professional air sealing

    Professional air sealing is also a must to prevent ice dams for good.

    Heres how these permanent ice dam solutions have a lasting effect on your whole home:

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    Filing An Ice Dam Insurance Claim

    So what happens when you find that your home has become the victim of an awful ice dam problem? Your first thought will probably be whether or not your homes insurance policy will cover it. This, unfortunately, is not a yes or no answer.

    It will depend on a lot of things, including what is written in your policy. However, there is a decent chance that your home insurance will cover the damage created by an ice dam problem.

    Most insurance policies provide coverage on an all perils basis, meaning all losses are covered unless they are specifically excluded. Most often, ice dam problems are not excluded.

    If your roof is old and already needs replacement, there is a chance your claim could be denied. The theory is that the roofs age was a contributing factor in why the ice dam was able to cause damage to the interior of the home.

    You may have damaged shingles on the outside, and all sorts of issues on the inside from ruined insulation, damaged wallboard, paint, and in some instances, damaged flooring.

    Besides the obvious damage, you can see the threat exists that you could also have mold growing in places that you cant see.

    When you file a claim, the insurance adjuster will come out and assess the damage. The adjuster will then report back to your insurance company with an estimated cost to repair the damage.

    Your insurance provider will usually issue you a check minus the deductible to repair the damages caused by the ice dam.

    Use Ice Melt Products To Eliminate Ice Dams

    There are some ice melt products out there that you can spread over the ice. Most contain calcium chloride, which can safely and reliably melt ice on your roof. Just be careful when you are applying the product, as ice is slippery and will only become more so as it starts to melt.

    Do not use salt, as this can damage your roofs shingles and gutters.

    Most standard high-performance ice melting products such as calcium chloride or magnesium chloride will indeed melt the ice. Still, they may also cause staining of the shingles and cause corrosion of the gutters.

    Salt will leave a white residue and is very corrosive to metals, so that you might turn your black roof edge into a chalky mess with salt. Wooden gutters will be adversely affected by nearly all chloride deicers, so they are not recommended.

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    How To Get Rid Of Ice Dams

    Icicles may be pretty but they can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up into your house. Learn these fast fixes for ice dam removal, long term repair, and prevention tips.

    Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That’s because the same conditions that allow icicles to formsnow-covered roofs and freezing weatheralso lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves.

    Pro2Pro Tip: To keep ahead of ice dam damage, snap photos where you see frosty buildup. Use the pictures to help target an interior inspection, during which you should check for leaks.

    Preventing Ice Dams By Insulating

    How to Treat and Prevent Ice Dams | Ask This Old House

    In addition to improving attic ventilation, the next best method to lower temperatures against the roof deck is by insulating the ceiling in living spaces below the attic or against the inside surface of the roof. If you have an open attic, this means insulating the floor of the attic. If you have a finished second-story in which a finished ceiling is directly against the roof, this means insulating the rafter spaces . These methods of insulating will prevent heat from rising up to the roof deck and heating it to a point where it can melt snow lying on the roof.

    Sealing air channels from the living space below the attic is just as important as the insulation itself. Gaps around plumbing pipes and around chimneys can be a significant source of heat flow into the attic from the spaces below. Seal these gaps as part of the overall insulation strategy.

    The benefit of a comprehensive insulation effort is that it not only helps prevent ice dams, but it also reduces energy costs. But be aware that insulation alone rarely is enough to prevent all ice dams. It needs to be done in conjunction with improved ventilation.

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    Ice Dam Protection And Prevention:

    As some of these problems are unavoidable, the surefire solution to preventing water damage due to ice damming is to include a waterproof membrane below your final roof covering at the bottom edge of the roof. This membrane will allow any water that does back up beneath the shingles to be safely drained off the roof.

    A bottom metal surface is another common practice as this allows any ice that forms to slide right off. While this works, it can be a safety issue, so be sure it cannot drop on any common traffic areas.

    Covering an entire roof with a waterproof membrane is a practice that seems to have taken hold over the last 15 years or so this will certainly solve ice damming problems, but it requires a significant investment of cash that would have been better applied to reducing heat loss through better air sealing and additional insulation.

    Thermal bridging can be avoided in new builds by ensuring the roof has a high enough pitch and adequate overhang so there is enough room to ventilate and insulate properly. Including high-heeled trusses raises the top deck of the roof to create more space for ample insulation.

    Fibrous insulation like cellulose and fiberglass insulation range around R3-4 per inch where spray foam is closer to R6 per inch. The high ecological cost that comes with spray foam stops us from recommending it except for very urgent circumstances and this can be such a case.


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