What is An Ice Dam and How Can it Hurt your Roofing?

Columbus ICe DamAn ice dam is ridge of ice that forms along the edge of a roof where it literally creates a dam that prevents your roof from shedding water and snow. ice dams can prevent snow from draining off of your Columbus home's roof as it melts. This means that water will rest at the edge of the ice dam, and it may leak through the roofing which will cause damage to your walls, insulation, ceilings, and more.

The professionals at GKG Roofing have answered some questions you may have about ice dams, and we've compiled some of the ways we can help you prevent them.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Ice dams for when three conditions are in place:

  • Snow cover
  • Freezing outdoor temperatures, and
  • Heat in your home is being lost through the roof

The snow at the top of your roof will melt because of the heat escaping from your home. As it runs down the roof, it comes, once again, to freezing temperatures. When it refreezes, you’re left with an ice dam.

Although the primary cause of melting snow is your home losing heat, it can also happen as a result of too much sunlight. With temperatures as low as 14° F outdoors and 23° F in the attic, enough sunlight can be transmitted through six inches of snow to cause it to begin to melt off of the roof and form a dam.

What Problems Can Ice Dams Cause?

Ice dams can cause major problems if they lead to water leaking through your roof, which in turn can cause a host of otherissues, including:

  • Rotting of the roof deck, exterior and interior walls, and framing.
  • Mold growth (which can cause rot and may lead to health problems).
  • Damaged insulation.
  • Wet insulation won't work very well, and if it's wet for a long period of time, it won't be able to decompress once it dries. Damaged insulation will allow more heat to escape, which will lead to more ice dams and create a vicious cycle.

All of these problems can have a huge negative effect on your Columbus home's roofing, but our professional roofing contractors can help you prevent ice dams from forming.

How To Prevent Ice Dams

There are some things that you can do to ensure ice dams never form in the first place:

  1. Have a metal roof installed. You still may have ice dams form on a metal roof, but nothing will leak through the roofing. Our professionals can help you decide if metal roofing is a good choice for your Columbus home.
  2. Make sure your attic is adequately sealed. if you can keep heat out of the attic, ice dams won't form.
  3. Move or elevate exhaust systems near the top of the roof. They may be making the snow melt faster.
  4. Get any snow off of your roof as soon as possible.

If you're looking for a roofing contractor in Columbus, call GKG Roofing at 614-745-7650, or fill out our online request form.