Three Ways to Save Your Roof from Ice Damming

Posted on Monday December 29, 2014


With the onset of winter, you’re probably thinking about keeping warm. But that ice or snow buildup on your roof means more than a visit from Old Man Winter – it could spell roofing problems later on.

It happens through something called ice damming – when ice accumulates on your roof, ultimately causing damage. The bad news? It could cause leaks later on. The good news? There’s something you can do about it – just follow these tips. 

1. Know the causes - so you can prevent ice damming in the first place. 

The first sign of ice damming is snow and ice build-up on your roof. Since inadequate ventilation traps cold air in the lower portions of that upper roof space, your roof stays colder near the edges. As a result, you’ll begin to see ice accumulate near the gutters.

2. Know the signs – so you can take action. 

You don’t have to wait for the ice to melt and your roof to leak to know if you’re experiencing ice damming or not. There are a few things you can look for ahead of time. 

First, you’ll want to recognize the normal pattern of ice on your roof. Ice and snow will typically cover – and melt – evenly. If you see a pattern of melted ice or snow at the peak of your roof, with accumulated ice toward the gutters and eaves, then that could be a result of ice damming. 

Secondly, there are some telltale signs of trouble: icicles on your eaves and gutters clogged with ice. After that, you’ll probably start noticing leaks when all that accumulated ice begins to thaw. 

3. Know what you can do to solve the problem – so you can avoid costly roofing repairs.  

There’s a host of solutions you can put in place to prevent ice damming and save your roof. For one, you can install flashing along your eaves, valleys, and step-ups. Beyond that, take a look at your ventilation and make sure it’s adequate. This will help make sure that cold air circulates out the way it should. And since attic temperature is a huge part of the solution, it can’t hurt to make sure the building is properly insulated, too. Finally, take a look at your soffits – that’s basically the underside of your roof area. Installing button vents, ensuring plywood is in good repair and applying a fresh coat of paint can all go a long way toward preventing ice damming. 

A cold winter can be challenging – but not as much as a spring that surprises you with a leaky roof. Prevent ice damming on your roof, either by implementing some of the tips you see here, or by talking to your trusted roofing professional. And if you don’t know one, a good property management company can certainly point you in the right direction. For more on preventing the harmful effects of ice damming, contact FirstService Residential today.

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