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Roofing Articles

Ice Damming on Roofs

Although you may look up at the roof during the winter and admire icicle formations, they are a result of potentially damaging ice block in your gutter. As we all know, with cold weather comes snow and ice, eventually causing buildup. That buildup, or ridge or ice that forms on the edge of a roof is called an ice dam.

The ice dam process is quite simple for all of the damage it can cause.

1. Heat escapes from the attic/Sun warms roof
2. Snow/Ice melt
3. Water runs down and is blocked by ice dam(or lack of drainage)
4. Ice dam forms/increases in size
5. Water gets trapped behind ice dam

It can cause serious leakages in your home, from ceilings and walls to your insulation. There are several causes of ice damming, some within your control and others that are the result of mother nature.

Common causes of Ice Damming:

Poorly insulated attic/Under-ventilated

A warm attic transfers heat to the exterior of your house, melting the snow and potentially causing an ice dam. These are common items in an attic that generate that heat:

* Plumbing pipes
* Chimneys
* Wiring
* Electrical boxes
* Weak building envelope (i.e. gaps in drywall)

Consistent Warming/Cooling (Irregular Tempuratures)

Irregular temperatures can caused by heat transfer from your attic, or merely from an inconsistent winter. A couple days of higher temperatures and sunshine followed by very low temperatures can also cause snow and ice to melt and dam on your roof.

Build-Up of Ice/Snow

This aspect of winter cannot be avoided. Even if you have the most weatherized attic, six inches of snow everyday for a week will cause build-up on your roof. In this circumstance, if you do have a hot attic, it will cause the most bottom layer of snow to melt, turn to slush and eventually freeze. With little roof runoff, this can be problematic.

Prevent Ice Damming

You have several options to correct or prevent an ice dam from forming on your roof and causing leakages.

1. Create a cold roof
2. Clean gutters/Remove Dam
3. Install gutters with drip edges
4. Install a gutter heating system
5. Install weatherized roof (with ice and water shield)

We at Atlas believe that implementing weather solutions before the bad weather hits is the best way to protect your home from damage. As a result, we have created the Atlas Gutter Heating System! It consists of a sensor that activates heated coils in the gutter when the temperature drops below freezing. This technology successfully prevents ice dams from forming, minimizing the risk of leakage to your home.

We also are experts in roof weatherization, whether installing ice/water shields, flashing, attic insulation or even removing ice dams. Contact us today.