Ice dams? Do's and dont's of winter roof maintenance!
Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Ice damming and snow accumulation are a common occurrence in Wisconsin winters. Knowing whether to be concerned by them can be hard for the average homeowner to know. I will give some common concerns and a few tips to relieve them!
WHEN TO BE CONCERNED?
If your roof is 15+ years old and you dont know if proper ice dam protection was installed at the time of the roof. Then ice damming can cause sheething rot and water intrusion from ice damming on your edges. Which can lead to thousands of dollars of interior repairs and possibly worse mold or other issues.
Second if your roof does not have proper ventilation you could have hot spots on your roof due to not having consistant airflow on the underside of the roof deck. Which will cause excessive melting adding a greater build up of ice dams!
WHEN NOT TO BE CONCERNED
If You have a profesionally installed Edco Steel roof system not only will ice dams not be able to form but you will never need to shovel your roof again!! Edco Steel roofs shed the snow daily throughout the winter. Leaving the beautiful edco roof gleaming in a neighborhood of snow covered roofs!
If you've recently had a roof system installed on your home that included proper ice dam protection at the time of installation. Then ice dams should be nothing but an eyesore. Because the ice dam protection underneath your shingles will protect water intrusion and sheething rot caused by ice damming.
Also proper ventilation of the attic space is required to combat ice damming. Not having proper ventilation to regulate the temperature of the roof deck can cause hot spots in the roof. Especially at exterior walls. That can cause excessive melting increasing ice damming.
So you had a professional well trained roofer install your system who paid attention to the need for proper ventilation and ice dam protection, then you should be worry free in the winter. The only time snow removal is necessary is on excessive accumulation.
**The morning after the big snow fall at the beginning of the winter**
WHAT TO DO TO GET THROUGH THE WINTER?
If you have concerns of ice damming and don't want to have a proper roof system that you would not need to be concerned with installed then these tips may help.
Roof rakes are great to remove the snow feom the bottom 6 ft of the roof which is where ice damming is most prevalent. Keeping this area cleared off can make a difference. Be careful not to damage the shingles in the process or you could end up with a larger problem.
Heat tape arranged properly on the bottom 4-6ft. of your home to melt the ice dams as well as heat tape in your gutters to drain Will make the largest difference long term to ice dam prevention and can be installed easily by a professional or as a DIY project.
Having your attic properly insulated and air sealed can greatly reduce hot spots on your roof as well as costly heat loss. Areas like tops of interior walls and top plates are large areas of heat conduction. These areas can be air sealed with spray foam insulation to fight this heat loss. Having the proper R-Value of quality blown in insulation is your final layer of defense in heat loss and is essential.
Insulation can be done without your roof being replaced or at the time of a new roof install. Insulation pays for itself in the long run everytime you heat bill lol!