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Thursday, February 16th, 2017 by Kevin Marr
Ice dams are made by the heat that rises through the roof from your house. If the heat from your living area rises up it starts melting the snow sitting on your roof. Once that happens it starts running down the roof until it reaches the edge. Once it reaches the edge the water refreezes and more water comes down and freezes and more water comes down and freezes. Soon the water can’t run down because there is a block of ice blocking up the flow of water like a river dam hence the name. Now you have water sitting up on your roof unable to go anywhere except down into the house.
First, ice dam leaks can be prevented by properly protecting the roof. Installing extra Ice & Water barrier will aid greatly in keeping the water that is sitting on the roof from coming in. At Klaus Larsen, we install 9 feet of Weathercock Ice & Water barrier. The barrier sticks to the plywood decking on the roof and seals it from water trying to seep in. Also properly installed the shingles around the valleys and keeping the gutter clear of debris will help as well.
There are also several ways to attack the ice dams themselves. I do not mean using a hammer or pickaxe. These tools can damage your shingle and cause the roof to leak from ordinary rainstorms.
Because ice dams are formed from the heat in your home, the key is to get the heat away from the roof. Putting insulation in your attic with preventing excess heat from entering the attic in the first place. Reducing the amount of heat reaching the roof will reduce the ice dams. Next, is improving the ventilation.
Having good ventilation will bring cold air into the attic and carry away any heat that rises through the insulation. We’ve installed ridge and soffit vents or attic fans to give homes better ventilation. A soffit and ridge vent system bring cold air from the bottom of the roof and carries it straight to the top and out the ridge vent. This makes the rafters and wood underneath the roof cold and takes away the heat that would have melted the snow and begun the ice dam. Many homes have two vents on the gable ends of the attic but many times these are small or do not provide enough ventilation.
If you are having major ice dam problems then we can install a vented deck with a new roof replacement. A vented deck is a guaranteed ventilation method for eliminating ice dams. It uses the same method as soffit and ridge vent. The difference is that it adds air pathways between two layers of plywood providing the most effective ventilation system available. You can learn more about vented deck by checking out our Youtube channel or News & Events page. If you are having ice dam leaks on your old roof then it is time to have your roof looked at. Call us for a FREE estimate and one of our consultants will talk you through a customized solution to deal with your ice dam leaks. Call us at (860) 563-7661 and see our work in East Hartford, Glastonbury, West Hartford, Lebanon, Colchester, Wethersfield, Hebron, Meriden, Mansfield, Niantic, Groton, Mystic, and beyond.
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