What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams on roofs are a constant headache for many homeowners in Michigan and other climates that experience freezing temperatures and significant snowfall. They are exactly what the name implies—dams made of ice—that form in your gutters and restrict the flow of water from your roof.
Ice dams form when warm air from your home escapes into the attic and heats up your roof from the inside. Combined with the heat from the sun, this warm air will cause any standing snow or ice that is on your roof to melt and run down the slopes. Normally this water would find its way into your gutters and downspouts and be channeled away from your home; however, when the outside temperature is below freezing, the water will refreeze once it hits the cold edge of your roof. After several days of melting-freezing cycles, the melted snow forms a dam of ice (or several) along your gutters and/or eaves. Ice dams prevent melted snow from draining off your roof, so instead the moisture will often back up under the roof shingles or fascia boards until it eventually finds a route into your attic. From there, the water can soak through and cause major damage to your attic, insulation, ceilings, walls, and other areas.
Ice Dam Defense
There’s no way to guarantee that an ice dam will not damage your home, but you can reduce the likelihood of an ice dam forming in the first place by doing everything you can to prevent the heat in your home from escaping through the roof. At J&J Roofing, we’ve determined the best defense against ice dams involves a combination of proper insulation, ventilation, and waterproof underlayment.
- Insulation | Proper insulation helps regulate the temperature inside your home by keeping cool air in during the summer and preventing warm air from escaping during the winter. If your home was built before 1980, chances are the insulation is lacking in R-value. R-value measures the amount of insulating power that a material provides. Many older insulation materials were not designed to endure, and will lose more and more R-value over time. Adding modern blown-in insulation with a high R-value to your home will help prevent heat inside from escaping, and can virtually eliminate the possibility of snow melting and refreezing at the edges of your roof. J&J Roofing offers superior blown-in insulation services that can increase your comfort, lower your energy bills, and protect your home against ice dams.
- Ventilation | When your attic is properly ventilated, any heat lost from the interior of your home is drawn up and out of the attic. This keeps the roof deck evenly cool to prevent snow and ice from melting on your roof. As an added bonus, proper ventilation in your attic also allows for rising moisture (which is caused by things like bathing, cooking, and doing laundry) to escape to the outside. Moisture that is not addressed can promote mold, mildew, and wood rot. If ice dams are a common issue for your home, our experienced crew members will inspect your attic to see if it has adequate ventilation. If it doesn’t, we will provide quality, affordable solutions.
- Waterproof Underlayment | The final component you need to defend your home against ice dams is waterproof underlayment. This is a protective, waterproof layer that is installed across the roof before shingles are applied. If an ice dam does form despite all of your insulation and ventilation efforts, the waterproof underlayment will protect against leaks and water damage.
As roofing experts and Michigan residents ourselves, we at J&J Roofing understand the challenges of maintaining a healthy roof in a freezing climate. If you are experiencing ice dams on a regular basis, give us a call! We will conduct a thorough inspection of your property to identify any issues, and promise to always provide affordable solutions.