Ice dams are one of the leading causes of roof leaks. Bergen County roofing professionals can prevent ice dams, but homeowners should be aware of this danger, understand preventative measures and know what they should do if it happens.
Ice damming occurs when ice accumulation in roof valleys, gutters or downspouts prevents melting snow and ice from properly following these channels away from the roof and the foundation of the house. Heat that escapes from the attic causes snow and ice to melt. This water travels until it hits snow lower down on the slope of the roof or in the gutters where it becomes stuck and freezes to form an ice dam. Subsequent snowmelt later is blocked by this dam and can find its way under the shingles or into areas around improperly sealed plumbing penetrations such as exhaust vents and fireplace chimneys. Common types of residential roofs, such as asphalt shingles and wood shakes, are designed to shed water and will not adequately keep out water that pools and backs up.
There are steps homeowners can take to prevent ice damming from inflicting damage on their homes. A special roof underlayment material known as ice and water shield helps prevent leaks of this nature. This shield is installed underneath the shingles in places where leaks are common to prevent water penetration into the attic.
The expert roofers at All Professional Remodeling of Bergen County can assist you with any questions regarding roofing, gutters or windows.
An ice and water shield is normally placed around bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents, chimneys and along the lower few feet of the edge of the roofline.
An ice and water shield should be viewed as a final protection measure against leaks caused by ice dams. More proactive measures can be taken. Homeowners should thoroughly clean out gutters a minimum of once per year before winter to prevent leaves and other debris from causing ice dams to develop. Snow should also be removed from the roof after a heavy snowfall before it even has a chance to melt. Special snow rakes are available at home improvement stores and work well for this purpose. If using a snow shovel, leave an inch or two of snow on the roof to avoid scraping and damaging the shingles. As a final option, heat cables can also be installed to prevent snow and ice from piling up on the roof.
Proper maintenance and a little attention to the roof and gutters can identify and even prevent ice dams from occurring. Homeowners who would like assistance with preventing or removing ice dams or leaks are encouraged to contact a roofing professional.