How To Prevent Ice Dams On Your Roof

Snowy, icicle-laden roofs are one of the most charming parts of winter. But vulnerable roofs are susceptible to forming the much less charming phenomenon known as ice dams, which contribute to leaks, rot, and other forms of roofing damage. If you have struggled with ice dams in the past and would like to keep them from causing problems in the future, read on. This article will discuss two ways to protect your roof from ice dams.

Why Ice Dams Are Bad

An ice dam is a thick accumulation of ice near the edge of a roof. So long as the temperatures as well enough below freezing, ice dams don't pose that much of a threat. Yet as spring draws near, and the days begin to warm up, they prevent melting snow from running cleanly off your roof. Instead, that water tends to pond up behind the dam, from there seeping upward beneath your shingles. This can lead to a variety of problems, from attic leaks to water damaged roof joists.

The Cause Of Ice Dams

The principal cause of ice dams is an excessively warm attic. You see, when attic temperatures are too high, it causes snow on your roof to melt. This water then runs down to the edge of the roof, where temperatures are lower, and freezes again. As this cycle repeats itself over the course of a winter, thick ice barriers tend to form. The key to preventing such ice dams, therefore, is to reduce the temperature of your attic by preventing simple forms of heat loss. Here are two ways to do that.

Plug Any Ceiling Gaps

Ceiling fixtures on the top floor of the house are one of the most common sources of heat leaks. Luckily, it is fairly simple to plug up such gaps. Simply head up to your attic and make a close inspection of any fixtures in the ceiling--whether vents, lights, or plumbing pipes. You're going to want to seal any uninsulated gaps you find around their perimeters. If the gap is small enough--less than a quarter inch--you can  do this using caulk. Larger gaps can be more effectively addressed through the use of expanding spray foam.

Beef Up Your Insulation

Take a ruler with you to the attic so that you can measure the depth of insulation that covers the floor. Ideally you should find that such insulation is between 10 and 14 inches deep in all places. Anything less than this means you are allowing too much heat to escape into the attic. Add more insulation as necessary. Not only will this help to keep ice dams from forming, but it will lower your energy bills as well!

For more information, contact companies like Gulfside Roofing Inc.