Ice Dam on Your Roof???
It’s February, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, which if you believe that a rodent can predict our weather patterns, it means that it will be an early Spring this year. But, there’s still more winter weather to come, there’s probably more snow and more cold temps and that could mean ice dams on the roof of your home. It’s a common problem for a lot of homes in the winter. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of the roof. This ice can damage the gutters and the roofing, and even though the icicles hanging down look beautiful, that ridge of ice also prevents the snow melt from draining off the roof. The melt backs up on the roof and leaks down into the home. That water could cause very serious damage.
Also, newer gutter systems help to prevent debris from accumulating and blocking down spouts. Blocked gutters can cause ice jams. If your gutters are old or clogged, clean them out. When the downspouts of the gutters plug, the melting snow just accumulates in the gutter and freezes, breaking the gutter, starting an ice dam, and possibly sending melting snow down into your home.
Ice dams begin by the heat collecting in the attic, warming the entire roof, except for the eaves. The snow that melts on the rest of the roof re-freezes at those colder eaves.
While there are methods in the winter time for dealing with ice dams—raking the roof, taking a box fan to the attic and blowing cold air at where it leaks. In the warmer months it may be time to better ventilate and, also, insulate your roof. Upgrading a poorly insulated roof is a good start. Adding vents around the inside of the roof will help to keep the warm air passing through and keep the entire roof cold. Also, soffit vents will help to keep the roof cold. If there are places in the home that may leak air, plug them up. That leaking air is rising, and leaving via the roof, melting the snow in the process. While ice dams are not entirely preventable, mother nature doles out what she chooses, you can do a lot of preventable maintenance around your home.
Your Home’s Roof and Siding Take The Brunt of The Elements
Your home’s roof and siding take the brunt of the elements. And, because these components of the home are constantly battered by wind, rain, snow, and hail, you will need to replace them, or at least fix them. Roof replacement happens. Especially here in Billings, Montana where the summer storms can drop great quantities of large-sized hail onto our roofs, weakening it to the point of replacement. But how do you know if your roof needs to be replaced? There’s the obvious—call a roofing contractor post-storm for an inspection—but there’s a few things that you can do, on your own, to determine if your roof needs to be replaced.
For starters, any home with an asphalt shingled roof should have the shingles replaced after twenty years. If your roof is considerably younger, inspect it. There’s the option to go up onto the roof from a ladder to inspect the shingles, but this isn’t always safe nor practical. You can get the same idea of the condition of the roof, when you stand back from the home and look at the shingles through binoculars. You’re looking for anywhere that shingles are peeling-upward, maybe some have big fissure-like cracks through them, or maybe there’s complete sections of shingles missing—if this is the case, don’t hesitate to call a contractor, a leaky roof can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked.
Another area to check for roof-wear is in the attic. When the sun is bright, go up into the attic and turn off every light. Inspect the underside of the roof at the areas of the chimney stack or the stack vent—any place where there is flashing installed to seal out the elements under the shingles. If there’s light passing through anywhere near the flashing, even tiny, pin-holes, the flashing probably needs replacement and you’ll probably need a large-scale repair, or possibly even a replacement.
If you find that there’s significant damage to the roof, call your roofing contractor. Lynnrich carries quality products such as Highlander laminate shingles, which offer not only great protection, but also a uniquely dimensional appearance to the roof when installed.