When winter comes rolling in with freezing precipitation, our houses take a beating. Those icicles might look festive, and may even be considered normal for this time of the year, but they can be silently causing some very significant damage to your house’s siding, roof, and gutters. They are called ice dams, and the damage they can cause isn’t very pretty.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

The roof of a house is the last layer of separation between the heat caught inside, and the cold temperatures outside. When snow and ice land on your roof, the warmth causes melting. As the water runs off the roof and onto the eaves, the temperature is significantly lower. The water melts then refreezes and gathers on the edges (eaves) of the roof. Melt, freeze, repeat.

The design of the house has a lot to do with where and how ice dams form. Not having the proper ventilation in your roof can cause damming, as well as hidden flaws within your roof or insulation. It’s important to keep a close eye on where water and ice are accumulating on your roof or in your gutters; having a professional come to diagnose any potential construction issues before ice dams actually form is a great place to start.

How To Deal With Ice Dams

There are several ways to deal with ice dams. In severe cases, you may have to chip away the ice at the eave of your roof and possibly have your home re-roofed. If ice dams are a consistent problem year after year, there is most certainly a heat loss issue, and installing a new roof would not solve the ice dam issue. 

A common misunderstanding is that if an “ice & water shield” is installed, it will prevent ice damming. That is not the case; it will only prevent the water being dammed from leaking into the house. Severe ice damming will cause other problems like lifting shingles and damaging gutters, and it can even creep into the roof cavity.

Remember that ice dams are caused by heat loss. This is heat you have paid to generate!

Removing snow manually after each storm to keep it from melting and refreezing is a good option if you can pinpoint the problem areas. Finally, talking to a professional about ventilation and heat loss can save you a lot of money and stress in the winter months. It’s a relief when you know your roof is properly taken care of.

Preventing Ice Dams in NH, ME

When dealing with the winters in NH, it helps to have someone who knows and loves the area as much as you do. No one knows winters in New Hampshire like Oxland Builders. Contact us to find out how your local design-build experts can help keep your house protected from the damage ice dams can cause.