How To Clean Up Water Damage from Ice Damming
Ice dams can occur on the roof of your home. They form when the snow on a sloping roof melts and flows down the roof. The water will run until it reaches freezing or below freezing air. This normally happens at the eaves. Then the water reaches the freezing air, it starts to form into ice, creating a dam. This dam stops any more water that melts from running off properly; with nowhere to go, it can start to seep into the home through the roof, causing damage to the drywall, the flooring, and your personal property. Talk about a disaster!
What caused this in the first place? If you don’t have enough roof insulation, or enough ventilation of the attic space, you may have what is referred to as a ‘warm roof’ where the living space is actually warming up the roof, causing the water to melt. Also, weather conditions that are warm during the day but freezing at night can also cause ice dams to form. Research into ice damming has shown that when the attic temperature is above 30 degrees and the outdoor temperature is below 22 degrees, ice damming can begin to occur.
What can you do about this? A few things actually. First I’ll mention some things if you are getting a new roof, as they only apply in this situation. A metal roof which sheds snow when it has a high enough pitch, can help prevent ice dams from forming. Also, a roofing membrane installed under traditional roofing materials (i.e. Ice Shield) can also prevent water damage from ice dams. Ice Shield prevents water that seeps through the roof tiles from seeping any further into the home. One other method our Utah disaster cleanup specialists use is to install a band of metal roofing at the eaves, to help prevent water from entering the home.
To protect the roof you already have, some roofers can install heat tape that will help melt ice quickly before it can cause an ice dam. There are some problems with this method, as it can be expensive and there is some risk of fire. For that reason, some insurance companies do not allow the use of heat tape, so check with your insurance first if this is something you are considering. Heat tape is commonly used in gutters and downspouts to keep ice dams from forming.
Hopefully this was some useful information for you, and will help keep your home dry this winter. If you have some ice damming issues, give us a call!