How Do Ice Dams Harm My Home?

Sep 22, 2021Blog

After heavy snow, a quick peek out the window might reveal long, intimidating icicles extending from your roof or gutters. While they may be pretty, they may also be the first signs of ice dams. Your winter wonderland might soon become a source of aggravation as water collects on the roof and does damage to your home or business.

This damage can be easily prevented with the expertise of the professionals at Revive Restoration. If you have concerns about ice dams forming on your roof, read on to learn about the causes and how to prevent them. You might even save money on heating and cooling in the long run!

What Is an Ice Dam?

Have you ever noticed a ridge of solid ice forming at the edge of your roof? This ridge prevents water, such as melted snow, from draining off of the roof. In essence, it creates a natural dam, causing water to collect and cause problems.

We call this ridge of ice an ice dam. Water that backs up behind an ice dam can lead to major damage to homes and businesses. At Revive Restoration, we make it our business to resolve the root cause of ice dam formation to prevent expensive damages.

What Causes an Ice Dam?

Snow melting on a residential roof

When the temperature of your roof surface is not uniform, it can cause ice dams to form. Often, this begins when the lower part of the roof’s surface averages a freezing temperature, and the higher part averages an above-freezing temperature. This generally only happens during the winter season, when outside temperatures are below freezing.

Problems begin when snow falls and settles on the roof. The snow will behave differently based on the temperature of the surface where it has settled. This leads directly to the formation of ice dams.

Even good intentions can cause problems, such as using heated cables or calcium chloride intended to melt the ice or snow. Usually, however, the cause is improper attic insulation.

If the snow falls on a portion of the roof above freezing, the snow will melt. That melted snow will travel to the portion of the roof that is below freezing, where it will refreeze. The build-up of ice and snow on the coldest part of the roof becomes the ice dam.

As snow becomes exposed to warm air and continues to melt, the ice dam will grow. It will only form over the area of the roof that is below freezing, however. Any melted water that settles above that portion of the roof will backup and remain liquid.

In essence, the frozen snow from the roof forms a barrier that prevents the stagnant liquid from escaping through gutters or other means. Both removing snow and ice dam removal can be dangerous for home and business owners to tackle alone, even with a roof rake. The key to eliminating this problem is proper attic insulation.

What Damage Can an Ice Dam Do?

A man removing rotten wood from his roof caused by an ice dam in the winter months.

Liquid water wants to move. It will seek out any cracks or openings in your roof covering and enter the space. This typically leads to water seeping beneath your roof’s shingles and entering the attic space of the building.

Mold and Mildew

Once the water is in the attic, it can easily enter the walls, insulation, or ceiling. The moisture in these spaces can become trapped and lead to the formation of dangerous mold and mildew. Over time there can be severe consequences for your respiratory health.

For individuals with mold allergies, it will not take long for health consequences to arise. Individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions are at particularly high risk. If mold and mildew grows and spreads, it can make your living space uninhabitable for certain family members.

Interior Damage

Furthermore, snow melting from the roof can damage the structural integrity of your home. One of the first signs is often a staining effect on the walls or ceiling. This strain can ruin the appearance of your home’s paint and sheetrock.

Water that is collecting in the walls or ceiling and may soon lead to significant leaking. Leaking can cause damage to furniture, carpets, and more.

Melted snow can also enter Soffit vents intended for attic ventilation. It is best to remove snow before the vents and homes are damaged.

Exterior Damage

Externally, the ice dam will only remain in place as long as the air temperature is below freezing. If the ice dam becomes too heavy and begins to melt, it can fall off the roof if it pulls shingles or gutters along with it, which can lead to significant roof and exterior wall damage.

Anything the fallen ice dam hits also has the potential of becoming damaged. Things that a falling ice dam may damage include plants, windowsills, and vehicles. Ice dams have fallen on both people and pets, causing significant injury.

All of this damage is avoidable with proactive assistance from Revive Restoration.

How Can Revive Restoration Help Prevent Ice Dams on Your Home or Business?

An attic with yellow insulation.

The key to preventing ice dams is ensuring that your roof is at a consistent temperature. Without the uneven temperature on the underside of the roof, you are unlikely to experience freezing. When ice melts properly, your gutter system will work as intended, and melted snow is unlikely to collect and cause damage.

Revive Restoration can help by ensuring that your roof is properly insulated. Proper insulation has the added benefit of helping to resolve any heating problems, which will make the space much more comfortable during freezing Minnesota winters. High-quality insulation can save you money on your heating and cooling bills, too.

Professionals from Revive Restoration can provide an inspection to make sure you have the proper insulation for your home. Revive Restoration professionals are familiar with building codes and will help you fix any problems that could lead to issues down the line.

Schedule Your Inspection With Revive Restoration

An aerial view of a gray roof on a home.

Ice dams can easily be prevented with the knowledge of the professionals at Revive Restoration. All employees possess integrity, a strong work ethic, and a desire to provide the best service and products in the exterior renovation industry. Adequate insulation will not only prevent damages but can also save you a significant amount of money on heating.

You can begin by reaching out to request a quote or inspection. Our professionals are happy to assist you as you prepare for a cold, Midwestern winter.