Your Roof Doesn'T Think Those Icicles Are Pretty

Posted on: 27 February 2015

Glistening icicles hanging from the edge of the roof are undoubtedly a beautiful sight on a cold winter day. Unfortunately, your roof does not enjoy those icicles as much as you do. Icicle formation is an indication that your roof is not as well-insulated as it could be.

While two or three icicles here and there is not a reason to worry, if you have large clumps of icicles and thick ice pads forming at the edge of your roof, you should take action before your roof suffers the consequences:

What causes icicles and ice dams?

Large chunks of ice on the edge of the roof, which usually go hand-in-hand with icicles, are known as ice dams. They form because part of your roof is warm enough to melt the snow on top of it. This melted snow refreezes when it reaches the colder edge of your roof.

Usually, an inadequately insulated attic is to blame for the formation of ice dams. However, poor roof ventilation, unsealed gaps around pipes and electrical wiring, and poor placement of exhaust fans can also cause ice dams.

How do ice dams damage the roof?

Water expands as it freezes, so if a little water trickles under the edge of a shingle and then re-freezes, it can cause that shingle to loosen and fall off. This can lead to leaks, which can cause molding and rotting of the wooden roof structure. The damage may be minimal in one season, but if you let ice dams form again year after year, you might find yourself dealing with large leaks or having to replace your roof prematurely.

What should you do to prevent ice dams?

If you already have large ice dams and icicles on your home this season, the best immediate action to take is simply to remove as much snow as possible from the roof. This will prevent the dams from getting larger. You can use a snow rake to remove the snow, or call a professional roof care company to do this for you.

Long term, you'll want to have your attic and roof inspected by a reputable contractor to identify the exact cause of your ice dams. Adding more insulation to your attic is likely to do the trick. However, if you already have adequate insulation, you may need to have your roof vents adjusted or have additional vents added to keep your roof cooler.

Icicles are pretty, but having them on your home is not a good thing. Take care of your ice dam problem and you won't have as enjoyable a scene when you look out the window, but you will have a sturdier roof. To learn more, contact a company like Accurate Roofing with any questions you have.