From insulating the attic to cleaning out your gutters, there are steps you can take now that fall is approaching in order to prevent ice dams this winter. It’s never too late to look ahead! Ice dams are not something you want on your roof, as they’re not only dangerous but can cause leaks as well.
Essentially, ice dams are blocks or thick sheets of ice that hang over your home’s eaves. After a snow fall, when the weather warms up a bit and that snow begins to melt, the water trickles down your roof and then re-freezes at the edges. More than unsightly and inconvenient, ice dams are a sign that you have insufficient insulation and venting.
When your roof is warmer than 32 degrees F, your attic is too warm. It’s enough to melt the snow but not the edges, which stay frozen.
During the warmer parts of the day, ice tends to melt and pool behind the ice. Where does that moisture go? It seeps under the shingles, then drips through the roof to invade your walls, soffits and ceilings. You may spot rust on drywall fasteners, or you may notice some paint that’s peeling. Other signs include sagging drywall and stains around windows and doors.
As you can imagine, fixing these conditions isn’t cheap. Instead, take preventive steps well before winter hits.
Insulate Your Attic
First off, measure how deep your attic insulation is. It should be between 12 and 14 inches of fiberglass or cellulose insulation. Consider adding more if the insulation is on the thin side. You may want to go with blown-in cellulose and fiberglass instead of rolls because they’re easier to fit into all corners and crannies.
Clean Your Gutters
Scooping out debris like leaves and debris from your gutters will prevent water from getting trapped and discourage freezing.
Replace Loose or Missing Shingles
Missing and broken shingles can encourage water to get in, which leads to costly leaks throughout your home. Replace any missing shingles you see and make any repairs right away.
Install a Water Barrier Along Lower Edge of Roof
Ideally installed when re-roofing, a water barrier placed along the lower edge of the roof is an
underlayment that adheres to the roof decking and waterproofs it. This prevents the buildup of ice and thus ice dams.
Contact Nations Choice
To learn more about our roofing services and how we can help you prevent ice dams, contact us today at 703-688-7100.