Ah, winter. It’s a time of joy and, strangely enough, hardship here in Minnesota. While the holiday season certainly brings with it some necessary cheer, heavy snow loads and icy temperatures can make living here sometimes a downright challenge.
If you feel this way about the weather, imagine how your roof is faring! It has to stand out in the cold day in and day out, protecting your family from snow, ice, and the wayward branch that happens to rain down in a snowstorm. It’s why we at Midwest Exteriors MN talk a lot about roof maintenance and repair on our blog!
But it isn’t just snow, ice and the like that your roof has to protect you from, it’s also the structures that those winter attributes create when they land on your roof and interact with the temperatures there. Yes, we’re talking about ice dams.
What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams form on snowy roofs. The process begins when snow toward the top of your roof, warmed by your home’s natural heat loss, melts and drifts down toward the colder eaves and gutters.
When it reaches the edge of your roof, the water freezes into ice. As more and more of this ice accumulates, an ice dam begins to form. Ice dams can get big enough to prevent water from draining off your roof, which can lead to all sorts of damage, including leaks inside your home.
Midwest Exteriors MN provides ice dam removal, and we know all about these nasty threats to your home’s longecity – their anatomy, how they form, what makes them go away. The best way to deal with ice dams is to not deal with them at all, by doing what you can to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place.
A few more things to know about ice dams:
● Ice dams generally form when the temperature of your roof interacts with the snow load on top of it. Warm air from your home rises, melting snow atop your roof. As that meltwater drifts down your roof, the roof temperature cools, and the water re-freezes into ice. As more and more ice accumulates, a “dam” of sorts is formed, which creates a puddle of standing water behind it.
● It isn’t the ice itself that’s the issue; it’s the standing water. While in the correct circumstances the ice can render itself an issue for seamless gutters and sectional gutters alike, by far the more concerning problem is the buildup of standing water on your roof.
While roofs (Minnesotan ones especially) are designed to handle a bit of snow load, they aren’t designed to hold water – they’re designed to allow it to flow off. Standing water spells trouble.
● Ice dams can cause problems not just with your roof, but in other areas of your home as well. When the aforementioned standing water worms through your shingles, it’s not just your roof that’s affected. Mold growth and electrical fires from excessive moisture can also result – certainly not things even the toughest Minnesotan wants to tangle with!
Your Roof Is Often the First Sign of Damage
In order to wreak the aforementioned havoc on your home, your ice dam needs first to penetrate your roof’s defenses. This invasion will, of course, result in damages, and will mean you need the help of a condo contractor or the like in the spring.
Worried your roof might be fighting a losing battle with ice dams? Here are a few ways that an ice dam takeover can rip apart your roof:
● Shingles with lifted seals
Ice is shockingly strong. If it latches onto your roof shingles and expands, it puts undue stress on them, which can cause them to lift and shift. This means that their watertightness is now nonexistent, and it sets the stage for leaky roofs in the future, if not now. Ice dams do create standing water, after all!
● Rotting rafters
It doesn’t take a roofing contractor to know how important your rafters are! These hardworking structures do tons when it comes to maintaining your roof’s shape. When moisture is introduced via the formation of an ice dam above, needless to say, this doesn’t bode well for your roof’s continued functionality.
● Strained decking
Your decking is the first “layer,” so to speak, of your roof. It covers the planks and other sturdy structures that hold your roof up and helps to protect it from damage. When this is exposed to the standing water an ice dam creates after the watertightness of your shingles is compromised, it can begin to sway or warp.
Aside from being an eyesore, a swaying roof can lead to quite the dastardly cave in. Decking supports the shingles of your roof. We need not go into the disaster that would occur if it were to fail!
Contact Midwest Exteriors MN Now for Intelligent Ice Dam Help
Whether you need gutter installers, roofing contractors, or even roof ice removal to help you cope with the damage of ice dams, we do it all! Give our Lake Elmo office a call now at 651-346-9477.