Amazing Utah Ice Damming
Utah ice damming is a damaging and pervasive winter roofing problem. Utah ice damming is caused by improper roof ventilation or an attic space that is too warm. If this condition is left untreated the ice dam will cause very serious damage to your gutters, paint, roof, drywall, installation, ceiling, walls, and other areas of your home. This type of damage can also cause future mold to occur which can be a very serious health issue for all members of your family.
An ice dam forms when the snow that is on top of the roof begins to melt and then refreezes at the edge of the roof in the gutter area. The cause of this melting is due to a home having a warm roof. As this ice dam grows larger and larger from the melting snow it causes water to build up behind the dam. At this point the water starts to look for openings and cracks and when it finds these openings it flows into them. These openings will allow water to enter into the attic area and then continue into the insulation, walls, and ceiling of the home.
Homeowners often wonder why the snow on the roof would melt when the temperature outside is below 32°F. The reason for this is because the underside of the roof that is in the attic area is above 32°F. This causes the snow on the roof to melt. It is interesting to note that an ice dam will grow after a heavy snowfall. The reason for this is because of the insulating properties that snow has. These insulating properties warm-up the attic space which causes the snow to melt faster. As the snow melts faster the ice dam continues to grow.
A warm attic is due to improper air circulation or ventilation from the outside through the attic area. It is also caused from poor insulation in the attic or from air leaks that bring warm air into the attic from the house. This can be caused by improperly installed duct work or by various cracks and openings in the ceiling of the home. Obviously, to prevent an ice dam a homeowner would need to correct any of the above problems.
Damage to the home from neglecting to remove an ice dam can be extensive. As the water begins to back up behind an ice dam it will eventually get underneath the roof shingles. At this point it will enter into the home through the attic or the exterior wall. This type of damage may not be readily apparent and may take some time before the homeowner notices it. However, during this slow process the water is damaging various areas of the home that will need to be repaired in the future. This can cost the homeowner a tremendous amount of money.
When areas of the home such as a wall, attic, or insulation becomes wet it has a tendency to lose its ability to perform. There are even occasions when mold can form if the right humidity and temperatures exist. Mold is a very serious health hazard for the members of a home and it can cause serious health complications. There may also be a blistering or peeling of paint that can occur months after the ice dam has disappeared. The sad part about ice dam damage is that it can be prevented by utilizing the services of a reputable company who understand how to prepare and prevent ice dam destruction.
The first thing that a representative from a reputable company will tell the homeowner is that will need to have an effective long-term solution they will eliminate or reduce all sources of heat from escaping into the attic area. The exterior side of the roof should be close in temperature to the underside of the roof deck. There should also be proper ventilation installed in the lower side of the roof by using a soffit and ridge ventilation system that is continuous.
The representative will also recommend that there should be a minimum 2 inch space between the sheathing and insulation. All sources of heat escape in the attic space will need to be eliminated such as heating ducts, attic stair openings that are not insulated, water or furnace heating equipment in the attic, kitchen or bathroom vent fans that are vented into the attic, heating ducts, and inadequate attic floor insulation.
As a homeowner, the most important thing to consider if your home has a history of ice dam damage is to prevent the dams from forming before winter arrives. This can be accomplished by making sure that the attic has insulation baffles to facilitate proper airflow and ventilation. In the latter part of the fall make sure that all of your gutters are cleaned out completely and that your downspouts are in good working order. Obviously melted snow will not be able to travel anywhere if your downspouts and gutters are clogged by debris and leaves.
By doing a few these very simple steps and prevention techniques you will be able to avoid the damage and expensive costs that can be caused to the home from Utah ice damming.