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How to Avoid Ice Dams from Your Denver Roofing Company


January 16, 2019

The winter season is upon us in Denver and with it brings inclement weather, snow, and the possibility of ice dams building up on your roof. This pesky nuisance can wreak havoc upon a roof, leading to possible significant roof leaks and eventually requiring repair or in worst case scenarios, leading to a full-on roof replacement. An ice dam is definitely one of the last things you want to see as a homeowner, as it can cause anxiety about what might happen as a result and create unnecessary stress, potentially around the holidays, an already stressful time for many families. If you’re wanting to avoid this circumstance from occurring, here are some helpful tips from your Denver roofing company.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Before we dive into the helpful ways you and your family can avoid having to deal with ice dams, it’s important to understand how these pesky intrusions can form on the top of your roof. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edges of your roof, restricting the ability for water to flow easily off the surface of your roof. Ice dams can be the result of many different factors, but may include things such as having a section of your roof which has a higher temperature, causing snow to melt and flow to areas of your roof which are below freezing.

An ice dam will continue to grow over time if you don’t address the root cause of the problem, which can be leaky insulation or any other factor, which we will discuss in the rest of this article. Though the specific causes of why you have uneven temperatures on the surface of your roof can certainly vary, the underlying issue is that nonuniform surface temperatures are the biggest cause of ice dams. 

Potential Damage Caused by Ice Dams

Ice dams can wreak havoc upon your roof in many ways are should be avoided at all costs, as the damage can be significant. Over time, ice dams will begin to damage the surface of your roof, as constant freezing and thawing can break the seals of your roof’s shingles. If your shingles already have holes or spaces where water can flow freely into the interior of your home, an ice dam is a recipe for dealing with leaks. 

A leaky roof should be addressed as soon as possible, as water can cause untold amounts of damage to the interior structure, leading to more than just having to replace your roof. Mold and mildew damage can become a serious issue for you and your family to have to deal with, as it can be incredibly expensive to repair and replace elements damaged by a leaky roof. It may even lead to you needing to tear up large sections of your house in order to remove and replace parts damaged by water.

Prevent Ice Dams with a Cold Roof

One strategy to employ in order to prevent the likelihood of ice dams forming on the surface of your roof is to keep your roof cold. A roof that is regularly heated by warm air escaping through your attic is likely to create continuous ice dam issues, which can lead to dealing with leaks and a roof that is damaged by the presence of this ice dam. One sign of a roof which is not cold enough is the presence of icicles hanging from the eaves.

A major tactic for keeping the temperature of your roof down is to close up attic bypasses which are letting out warmer air, leading to a warm roof. On average, approximately one-third of all heat loss in a home exits through the ceiling and into the attic. These leaks can be caused by a number of factors, including unblocked walls, gaps in drywalls, and cracks which exist around elements such as plumbing pipes and chimneys. One way of closing up air leaks is to rake or pull back insulation and plug the leaks by using foam, caulking, or other methods. Winter or colder months of the year are a good time to tackle this project, as attics can be especially hot in the summertime

Another strategy to consider for keeping your roof cold is to measure your current level of insulation in your attic. Generally speaking, building codes tend to require an insulation level of approximately 12 to 14 inches. If you have less than this amount to a noticeable degree, it may be a good idea to add addition layers of insulation in your attic to prevent air from escaping. In terms of effective insulation strategies, blown-in insulation tend to be a more reliable way to go as they will fill in spaces more tightly, such as around your rafters, joists, and other areas where hand-placed batts will not do the job as well. 

A final strategy to consider as a way to reduce the temperature of your roof is to add roof and soffit vents. Ventilating your attic will draw in cold, outdoor air and cool both your attic and roof in the process. You should consider a minimum ventilation area of at least 1 square foot per 300 square feet of ceiling area. The bottomline is: keeping your roof cool is the best way to avoid dealing with ice dams. 

If you are in need of roofing services for your home or office, avoid doing it yourself and hire professional and competent contractors to get the job done. In this area, The Roof Dr. has you covered. We offer both residential and commercial roofing options for whatever your situation may be. We are a Colorado owned and operated business, and have been building roofs in the Denver metro area since 1971. Our team of qualified and experienced professionals are there to ensure the job is done as efficiently and affordably as possible. If you are need of a roofing repair or replacement, or you simply have questions about our services, contact us today!