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How to Prevent Dangerous Ice Dams on Your Roof

roof-storm-damageIce damming has become a growing problem on Colorado roofs. Unfortunately, the weather conditions have been ideal for the formation of ice dams on roofs, resulting in further water damage in residential areas this year than in any previous year. Icicles are one of nature’s most beautiful winter wonders. However, be cautious if your home turns into an ice palace this winter since they can loosen shingles, tear off gutters, and end up causing water to back up into your property. Discover how to remove ice dams quickly, as well as long-term repair and prevention tips provided by the experts from Ninja Roof:

What is an Ice Dam?

When the warm air coming from within your house can escape through your top floor or attic after fluctuating temperatures and heavy snow, the snow on your roofing can start to melt. The meltwater drains to your eaves, where the surface temperature is lower. Eventually, the meltwater pools and refreezes in your eaves, forming a barrier that obstructs drainage. This is known as an ice dam. If you fail to have ice dams removed properly, the trapped water would then seep into your house and cause damage to your ceilings and walls. 

Signs of an Ice Dam

Make sure to monitor your icicles. Those tiny icicles that form in your gutters during a momentary melting period should not be a concern. The problem starts once the icicles start to grow in diameter and length. Thick, long icicles are too bulky to dangle from your roof without causing an ice dam. That is one of the signs to know that you have an ice dam problem. Other indicators include the following:

  • Water leaking and freezing on your home’s exterior
  • Collapsed or drooping ice-filled gutters; improperly draining gutters
  • Snow melting high on your roof (near the peak)
  • Water-damaged ceilings, soaked insulation, deteriorating plaster, and peeling paint

What to Do If An Ice Dam Forms?

The removal of an ice dam can be hazardous. It’s best to hire a licensed contractor from Ninja Roof to remove ice and snow from your roof’s surface, gutters, eaves, and overhangs.

If you chose not to seek professional assistance, avoid the following common mistakes done during DIY ice dam removals:

  • Don’t ever try to remove icicles from your home from the ground. It is risky and will not address the issue because icicles are byproducts of the ice dam and not the cause.
  • Do not use a chisel or hammer to break the ice. If you do this, you can potentially damage your shingles instead of removing the ice dam.
  • Avoid ice melters such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, or salt, which are extremely corrosive to flashings, downspouts, metal gutters, and shingles. 
  • Do not walk on a snow-covered roof. Roof falls and potential electrical wire exposure are both dangerous. Rather, use a long-handled roof rake to remove snow from the ground. When raking snow off the roof, be careful not to let the snow fall on you. 

If you notice any wet areas in your house, start taking photos of the damage. Notify your insurance provider or notify your landlord if you are a tenant.

Ice Dam Prevention

Make Sure That Your Attic Is Adequately Insulated

Warm air from your household that transports into your attic may raise the temperature of your roof’s underside sufficiently to melt snow, especially when combined with a warm climate. Determine the recommended “R-value” for attic insulation in your climate zone and make sure that it is similarly high. Any gaps in your attic should be sealed and insulated as well. 

Maintain Good Attic Ventilation

Proper ventilation can help keep your attic at the same temperature as the outside air and cool the underside of your roof, preventing snow from melting. Make sure that the area above your soffit vents is not blocked by insulation and that the soffits allow outside air to flow in. A roof overhang of over 12 inches must provide enough room for inlet vents. Sufficient ventilation in your upper attic can help ensure consistent and proper airflow, which is also necessary. Upper ventilation is usually provided by continuous ridge vents or individual roof vents.

Protect Your Roof

Water can be directed directly into your gutters and roof by installing drip edges or ice shields at your eaves. Install a waterproofing membrane adjacent to the lower edge of your roof, and make sure it extends approximately 24 inches back from the edge to keep water out of your gutters and roofs. Waterproof membranes or ice shields are typically required by building codes. What’s even better is that they can help stop roof damage.

Ice dams, regardless of their type, can cause significant damage to your roofing system. As a result, adhere to the advice listed above to ensure that your roof is safe from the risks and damage caused by ice dams during the winter season in Colorado.

The Solution

The best solution for ice dam formation in Colorado is to have the experts from Ninja Roofs inspect the essential components of your roofing system that can help avoid ice damage. These key components include underlayment, attic insulation, and ventilation. 

For a more cost-effective way to treat ice dam formation, you can install heat tape available at your nearest home improvement stores. This tape will need an electrical source to heat the roof line to just above freezing, letting the ice melt. Ninja Roofs roofing experts can install this tape for you and we can perform a thorough assessment of the performance of your roof as well. Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and skilled local representatives today.

Contact the Best Roofing Company in Colorado

If you want Ninja Roofs’ professional roofers to fix or improve your roofing system, all you have to do is message or call us as soon as possible. As a reputable roofing company, we make sure that we employ dedicated and well-trained staff who specialize in various types of roofing systems. 

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