An ice dam on your roof is a symptom of a more serious problem and can be the precursor to significant roofing repairs.
February and March in Madison WI and all of Southern Wisconsin usually means days of warmth sandwiched around cold nights. All spiced with snow squalls and even rain showers. All can contribute to the buildup of ice and ice dams on your roof. As snow melts it slips and flows to gutters and downspouts where it can refreeze when the temperature drops or the sun disappears. The results can be more than a nuisance. An ice dam around gutters or downspouts indicates there are factors at work below the surface. Ironically, your roof may be as much a victim of an ice dam as you are.
Your roof is a part of a complete system that including the gutters, soffets, siding and all related ventilation. These elements, working in concert, provide for a safe and comfortable home. But, when one is shifted off center it affects the others and collectively they can affect your heating and cooling bills. Left unattended, problems in this system put your roof’s overall life in jeopardy, too.
Obviously, a roof doesn’t last forever. It will wear out, and its lifespan can be impacted by storm damage and the harsh nature of Madison WI weather. That includes ice dams. If, after a visual inspection, you see places where your roof is showing wear – loose or discolored shingles for example – you may be looking at signs that there is something amiss in the entire system.
Ice dam insight
Ice dams are basically a function of a warm roof. The warming comes from the inside thanks to poor ventilation, poor insulation or a unique situation such as a skylight. When snow on the roof melts too fast it runs to gutters where it refreezes. As this ice backs up from the gutter onto the roof the continuing freeze/thaw process, resulting in an ice dam, can force water under the shingles. Once that happens, there can easily be leaks into walls, attics and the ceilings of interior rooms. An ice dam can result in an unsightly stain on a wall or ceiling, or if undetected it can lead to serious leaks and the growth of dangerous molds.
Ice Dam Protection – Stick Your Head Into The Attic!
Now is a good time for an inspection of your attic ventilation and insulation. Go to the attic on a day when it’s below freezing outside and check the interior temperature. The temperature inside the attic should be at or close to the outside air temperature. If there’s a significant difference between the inside and outside air, chances are you have an issue with your ventilation, insulation or both. If you don’t address these concerns soon, not only will you continue to have ice dams, but you can “cook” your shingles from the inside out this spring and summer as inside attic heat rises to excessive levels.
A Perfect Time For Ice Dam Corrective Action
This time of year the freeze/thaw ice dams can be a common problem. If you see an ice dam on your roof, call Sims Exteriors and Remodeling, a qualified roofing contractor, to help remove the ice dam without damaging your shingles, and to give you a comprehensive examination of the entire roofing system.
Your Sims roofing specialist will review all the potential contributing factors, including ventilation, soffet, gutters and related drainage, siding and internal air quality – humidifiers and exhaust fans can play a role, too. Once the inspection is complete you will get a detailed plan for addressing the factors that needing attention. If not corrected the situation won’t get better and your roof’s problems will continue to get worse.
There was an old TV commercial that closed saying, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.” Nothing’s truer than the need to find the cause of ice dams and fixing them as soon as possible. Paying for repairs now can save paying for a whole new roof in the not too distant future.
The professional roofing contractors at Sims Exteriors and Sims Remodeling have helped homeowners in the Madison WI area and all of Southern Wisconsin avoid and correct ice dam problems in their homes and businesses for years.
Sims experts in ice dam repair and roof ice removal serve the greater Madison WI area, including Middleton, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Oregon, Verona, McFarland, Stoughton, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie, DeForest and all of Dane County.
Call or email Sims today to get an analysis from a roofing expert to help with your specific ice dam situation.