Two types of attic water damage are common in cold climates: ice dams and condensation of water vapor on cold surfaces in the attic.
Ice Dams. Ice dams sometimes occur on roofs in climates with freezing temperatures. When the temperature in your attic is above freezing while the temperature outside is below freezing, an ice dam may occur. The heat exchange from the underside of the roof sheathing causes the snow on the roof to melt. The water running down the roof may come into contact with an area that is super cooled. The roof overhang or eave is super cooled by the wind and ambient temperature. Once the water runs down to an area that is below 25 degrees, it will freeze.
Here’s the big problem. If the weather pattern repeats itself for a period of time, the snow melt forms an ice dam. This dam creates a pool of water that begins to climb upward and underneath of shingles potentially creating significant water damage.
The solution to minimize the impact of ice dams is for the roof and attic to be ventilated properly.
Roofing Contractors can help mitigate against the formation of ice dams
The attic air space is a volatile area. Over the past decades more testing and understanding of this critical area for a home healthy environment has occurred. We now have more revelation on how to minimize the effects of ice dams and potentially dangerous stagnant air.
- It’s imperative that the builder properly installs vapor barriers to the attic floor.
- Under eave soffit ventilation balanced with roof peak exhaust vents are needed for proper air distribution and equalizing of temperature in attic space.
- Insulation in the attic space creates a temperature wall between the interior and attic space.
- Add more insulation if needed.
- Remove blown in insulation around soffit vents and install insulation baffles.
What not to Do
- The removal of ice with a chiseling device may lead to roof damage.
- Please don’t install a water heater in the attic in cold climates.
- Ice melt is used on concrete and contains calcium chloride, which is corrosive. This isn’t the best product to use on roofs.
Snow and Ice dam removal
Preventing damage is the first step, but roof repair might be necessary after you find snow or ice damage. Hire a contractor to remove snow from the roof before an ice dam forms. If you’re experiencing water damage from ice dams, have a roofer mitigate against further damage. We recommend the use of specialty equipment to remove ice dams. A roof steamer is the most effective way to remove ice dams. Count on our team for roof repair and preventive services.