What Are Ice Dams And How Can I Prevent Them?

New England winters bring in the potential of ice dams which can severely damage a home. Ice dams can damage roofing, walls, ceilings, insulation, and the gutter system. What’s worse is that it can come with long-term effects that may go undetected after eliminating the ice dam. Prevention is the best method to ensure that ice dams don’t ruin your home.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

The surface of the roof becomes hot from the heat inside the home. The outside temperatures may still be freezing, but the bottom layer of snow closest to the roof will begin to melt. That melted water will begin to flow down the roof until it reaches a point that is cooler. Then the water refreezes.

If this continues to happen, it can create a large ice dam that prevents the snow from melting and draining off the roof. The water that can’t drain off then begins to build weight on the roof. That water will find its way into cracks, openings, or weak spots in the roof and begin causing damage.

What Damage Can Ice Dams Cause?

The water damage from leaks is the only hazard of ice dams. Ice dams can also come with a substantial amount of weight on the roof, causing damage to the roofing materials and carpentry.

Ice dams can also lead to gutter damage, particularly if the water made it to the gutter or nearly to the gutter before refreezing. Ultimately, the most serious consequences of ice dams come from the aftermath.

If uncorrected or treated improperly, the water and physical damage of the ice dam can lead to mold and mildew. It’s best to dry out any wood and insulation immediately if any area in the attic is wet or damp.

Can I Prevent Ice Dams?

Yes, preventing ice dams is actually fairly easy. Removing snow from the roof is the best option to ensure that there’s not the chance of an ice dam forming. There are professional services for this, and it’s always best to have a pro do this type of work.

Another method to lay down heated strips to help ease the flow of water during cold weather. Heated gutter or roof strips can help ensure that the melted snow doesn’t have the chance to refreeze in or near the gutter system.

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Benefits Of Installing Gutters On Your Home

Gutters offer your home a variety of protection. Without directing rainfall or melting snow, your home’s roof and foundation could be at risk of severe damage. If you’re looking to prevent basement flooding, damage to landscaping near the home, and ultimately, the foundation of your home, then it’s time to consider installing gutters.

Reduce the Risk of Erosion

When contractors build a home, there should be a nearly undetectable slope to guide rain runoff. However, even if rain simply falls off your roof or pools around the base of your home, there is a serious risk of erosion to your foundation.

As rain builds up, it will wash away soil, and it gets worse every time it rains. In areas of heavy rain, such as throughout New England, there’s the possibility of damage to cement or concrete as well as the soil.

Gutters intervene and direct the water to a dedicated area that is away from the foundation.

Protect Your Siding or Home’s Exterior

Without a gutter system, the rainfall will go right down the side of the home. At that point, it isn’t nearly harmless rain, and it comes down the side of the home with particles from the asphalt roofing. The rain will essentially drag the asphalt along the side of your home, leaving not only a temporary layer of dirt but permanent staining and rot damage.

Gutters ensure that this doesn’t happen. The gutter system catches all, or nearly all, of the rainfall from the roof and then expedites it to a safe and designated location on the ground away from the home. That means the asphalt particles never have a chance to touch the side of the house.

Avoid Basement Flooding

As the water in the soil around the foundation builds up, it takes on additional weight. The pooling around the house can add to that pressure, and this causes the basement walls to give. The basement walls can push inward, or crack resulting in extreme flooding.

The only solution is to keep as much pressure off the foundation and home as possible. Flooded basements are not just inconvenient; they are a serious health hazard. All too often, flooded basements aren’t properly repairs or cleaned and can cause mold growth.

Sponsored by Gutter Installation Peabody MA