When ice dams cause a leaking roof, Kitchener homeowners need to know what to do in order to keep minor damage from becoming huge, expensive issues. Ice dams form when snow falls on the part of the roof above your heated living space and melts. That water runs downhill until it reaches the eaves, which do not have heated space beneath them, so the water re-freezes and forms a bump that helps trap more melted snow and perpetuates the cycle. When rain gutters fill with snow, this hastens the formation of ice dams, because it stops the run-off on top of the colder eaves. Steep roofs have a stronger tendency to form icicles in these conditions, but a flatter roof is more susceptible to ice dams.
Because water expands as it freezes, it can actually creep uphill a little and get underneath your shingles, which allows the water to get into your attic insulation, or to seep into your roof structure and ceilings. This run-off water can also freeze the ends of your shingles into a solid mass of ice, which can tear the shingles out if the ice dam breaks free.
- Emergency Fix – Dealing with an ice dam is risky business. It can be dangerous for you and for your roof. Your roofing material is more brittle and vulnerable during freezing conditions, so it has to be handled with great care. The safest temporary fix for dealing with an ice dam until you can get professional help is to use calcium chloride to melt the dam and the snow and ice in your gutters. This is not a suitable application for rock salt, which can corrode your gutters and downspouts, damage paint, and kill plants beneath.
- Inspection And Repair–Removing the immediate problem is only the first step. Don’t delay in getting a licensed and insured roofer out to inspect your roof and make any repairs needed immediately. If you put off this critical step, those small water incursions can lead to big problems with mold, mildew and dry rot in a surprisingly short time. The quicker you address the problems, the less extensive the damage will be.
- Prevention – After you have dealt with the ice dams and the damage they caused, it is time to make plans to prevent future ice problems on your roof. Get your roofer to make an assessment of your roof and attic space, to point out areas that will cause future problems. You may need to consider attic sealing, improvements to your attic insulation and ventilation, and installing a roofing underlayment material designed to prevent ice and water damage, or membrane coating the roof for ultimate protection.
Expert Help Is One Phone Call Away
If ice dams are plaguing your home and causing a leaking roof, Kitchener area residents can depend on The Roofman for immediate service, and expert repairs and evaluations by a licensed, insured roofing contractor. Call us today at 519-744-3830. We will help you take care of the immediate crisis and plan to protect your home by preventing future problems.