What are Ice Dams and How to Fix the Damage They Cause

By: | October 2nd, 2020

Image by 5598375 from Pixabay

There are some things that we have no control over, and the weather is one. The seasons change the day in many ways and when it comes to winter, we all wrap up against the cold and get on with things as best we can. The problem is that this is the season when the weather can inflict most damage on our homes and other buildings. Winter, for many of us, brings cold and snowstorms, and in many areas, these can be very serious.

Check out this example of how damage to buildings from ice dams can occur very quickly. It may be an extreme one, but it’s a good illustration of the problems involved. What are ice dams, how to the form and what can be done to prevent them? Furthermore, if you do find you have ice damage, what can you do to fix it? Let’s talk about how they form and what you can do to prevent them.

What are Ice Dams?

Ice dams form at the edges of the roof, typically following a heavy snowfall. The snow at first may melt, and when it refreezes you have a solid wall of compact snow and ice on your roof. There are two major problems here: one is the weight of the snow, the other the damage it does when it finally starts to melt.

Ice is, after all, water and water is actually surprisingly heavy. Usually, water on your roof drains away via the gutters and downpipes, but if it freezes you have the full weight of the water – in the form of ice and snow – on your roof. This can cause serious structural damage, and surprisingly quickly too.

When the ice and snow starts to melt you suddenly have the equivalent of a heavy rainstorm overwhelming your roof. This can cause leaks, dislodge tiles, and will find any gaps that may exist. Water inside the walls and roof cavity will cause damp and lead to damage that will cost a lot to repair.

You may also find the ice dam blocks the drainage system which will lead to pools on the roof itself. This will also add to the problems by finding a way into the house and causing water and damp damage. So, what can you do to prevent ice dams, and what happens if you have damage caused by them?

Prevention and Repairs

First, if you have damage to your roof, guttering and other areas caused by an ice dam, you need to call in the professionals. The roof and its various attachments are not a job for the DIY enthusiast. A recommended company with expertise in this area is Johnson Exteriors who will be able to advise the best course of action, and who will carry out all repairs to the highest standards at sensible rates. Don’t hesitate to contact them if you see damage in or outside the home caused by ice and water, as leaving it too long will only let it worsen.

Can you prevent ice dams? As we said at the start of the article, we have no control over the weather. Snowfalls will happen – especially if you live in an area where it is standard to endure heavy falls – and snow will settle on your roof. The best advice is to remove what you can as quickly as possible. You can buy tools with extending arms that will brush the snow away from the roof before it freezes, and these are essential for anyone in a heavy snowfall region. That will ensure that you do not leave the snow on the roof for too long.


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