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Kulp Roofing

What Causes Ice Damming and Can it be Avoided?

Do you remember this sight from this past winter? Sorry to say it’s just around the corner again. Icicles hanging from your eaves and gutters are the start of one your home’s worst enemies — ice dams.

What causes this damning? Ice dams happen after a heavy snowfall when warm air in the attic allows the roof to warm and the snow to melt. Water running down your roof refreezes when it reaches the cold edge of the roof, forming a mound of ice.

At first, ice dams are just continuous chunks of ice that form along the margins of your roof. While frozen, they’re no more trouble than the icicles that hang down. But during the warmer parts of a winter day, water melting off the roof pools behind the ice, then seeps back up under the shingles.

Sometimes water can work its way five or even 10 feet back up under the shingles. Eventually, it drips through the roof into the soffits, walls, and sometimes onto your ceilings. You’ll first see ice dam rust spots on drywall fasteners, then perhaps peeling paint, sagging drywall, and stains around windows and doors, which can sometimes lead to mold or rot.

Insurance companies pay millions of dollars to thousands of homeowners annually to repair the damage. But it’s never enough to cover the time and aggravation of getting everything fixed. How do you prevent damming?

The Family Handyman does a great job of explaining how prevention can be undertaken.

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