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We all know what ice is, and what a dam is, but how about an ice dam? Understanding the anatomy of an ice dam can be the difference between a homeowner who’s happily dry in their home, and a homeowner who’s stuck holding a pot under a leaky roof. Ice dam is the term used to describe a buildup of ice on the edge of a roof, preventing snowmelt from running off the roof. Ice dams are notorious for causing damage to roof shingles, gutters, exterior house paint, plaster, and interior ceilings.
Ice dams happen when snow is left on a roof and the roof temperature fluctuates between freezing and thawing. Heat rises and escapes through the high parts of the roof, melts the snow, and that snowmelt trickles down to the colder, lower edges of the roof—where it then freezes. Once the snowmelt freezes, it expands beneath the shingles, and eventually melts to find a cozy place under your roof.
Helpful Tips to Avoid Ice Dams
Metal roofs are less likely to experience the water damage that a shingled roof could experience. This is because metal roofs handle heat differently and have a smoother surface, which allows snow to slide from the roof easier. Whether metal or shingle, both types of roofing should have a protective ice and water shield membrane installed around the bottom edge for worst case scenarios.
Other preventative efforts include insulating the home’s attic better to minimize heat that escapes from the roof. Need a quick fix? A roof rake is a quick purchase and can be used to remove the accumulation of snow from the roof’s edge…before it freezes.Are you curious if you have ice dams or if your homeowners insurance would cover this type of water damage? Let us relieve those concerns. Our insurance specialists are available to answer any of your questions at 1.800.734.2333.