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How Do Ice Dams Cause Roof Leaks?

Published by Top Tier on November 16, 2023

In order to ensure the longest lifespan of your roof, regular maintenance and care are required. Otherwise, natural damage can build up and result in leaks or a necessary early replacement of the roof. One of the largest threats to roofs in the northeast of the United States is snow and ice. As the calendar turns to winter, home owners need to be extra vigilant to ensure that the snow and ice which occurs during the winter does not result in costly roof repairs.

What Are Ice Dams?

A snow dam is a natural occurrence which happens commonly in the northeast on roofs. An ice dam is a build up of ice which occurs when large amounts of snow begin to melt in the sunlight and then refreeze overnight as the temperatures drop. The ice dam typically occurs near the gutter of the roof and the frozen ice prevents melting water from running down the slope of the roof. As the sun sets, the water which was dammed, freezes and becomes part of the ice dam which prevented its run off.

How Do Ice Dams Cause Roof Leaks?

Ice dams occur as ice builds up during the freezing and unfreezing process which occurs overnight in colder climates. During the day, as temperatures get above freezing, snow begins to melt and turn into water. The still frozen ice near the gutter of the roof prevents the thawed water from running down to the ground. Then, as the sun sets and the cold sets in, this water refreezes turning into ice below the mound of snow. This makes the ice dam larger and prevents even more water from running off. This is very common to occur on shingle roofs like a roofer in Sewell may commonly find on homes in the area.

How to Prevent & Deal With Ice Dams on Your Home

Top Tier Roofing always utilizes ice and water shield in order to ensure the most protection against leaks in a shingle roof as possible. Ice and water shield helps to get in between each shingle and offer an additional level of protection against moisture getting into your home.

If you are experiencing a snow dam on your home, the best thing to do is to take action immediately. Removing snow which is on top of your roof is the best way to immediately alleviate a snow dam. You may also be able to use a roof rake and push broom, however; it is important to consider this could cause damage to the roofing materials underneath of the snow if not done correctly.

If you are living in New Jersey area, you know that massive snow storms can happen. While we may not receive one each year, it is important to consider the damage that large snowfall can cause to your roof if you are negligent. Ensuring that you examine your roof after large snowstorm to make sure that water is properly flowing off of the roof is a major key. Following seasons which have heavy snow, it may also be wise to consult a roofing professional about a roofing inspection to ensure that there is no damage to the roof which could cause a large headache in the future!

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