Ice dams are a hump of ice that forms when the roof over the attic gets warm enough to melt the first layer of snow. The water then trickles down the roof between the under layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eaves of the roof. The eaves of the roof hang over the attic allowing them to stay cold due to the lack of insulation. The water then refreezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice on the edge of the roof.

Ice dams can be extremely damaging to both your roof and the inside of your home. If an ice dam gets big enough the melted water can seep underneath the shingles and eventually drip into the installation and down into the ceiling and into the interior walls and ceiling, ruining your sheetrock. If the wall stays wet it can create mildew and mold problems for your home. Ice dams can also be damaging to your downspouts and gutters as well. If an ice dam gets too heavy it can break off and pull down gutters with it which will not only damage your roof but is also damage or potentially harm anything it falls on.

Ice dams are an extremely common sight during New England winters. Although there are a few tips and tricks to help prevent ice dams from occurring the best way to avoid ice dams are with better sealing, installation and venting in the attic and eaves.

One way to help prevent ice dams is to avoid heating your roof. This will help avoid the melting of snow on your roof, instead snow will dissipate without the melting of large amounts of water. You also will want to have a ventilated attic so that heated air can escape rapidly instead of being trapped inside causing your roof to heat up.

You can also help avoid ice dams by scraping snow from your roof whenever it falls, either from below or above. You can also install a water repellant membrane under your roofing or replace your shingle roof with standing seam. Increasing insulation and sealing gaps to let warm air pass into the attic from the house will also help prevent ice dams. It is important to keep an air space between the roof deck and the insulation in order to prevent a condensation buildup that can delaminate the roof deck.

Ice dams are often hard to avoid in harsh New England winters, so if you do find yourself dealing with one, contact Aqua Barriers for proper removal of all ice dams.