Prevent and Repair Water Damage From Ice Dams

Ice Dams and Water Damage

Ice dams can be a very destructive situation for a home in areas of the country with heavy or frequent snowfall and moderate temperature swings. Ice dams do not often occur where daytime temperatures remain below freezing for long periods of time. Snow is allowed to melt or evaporate gradually and ice dams are not formed. Knowing what to do before and after severe winter weather can help lessen the damage from ice dams or prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Ice Dam

Water damage to your home is one of the most costly repairs you can encounter. Whether it be from a roof leak or plumbing leak, materials in your home that get wet from leaks, like sheet rock, wood and carpet, can not only result in expensive repairs but pose a serious health threat from mold and mildew. If leaks are detected early enough you can prevent any resultant mold and mildew. Time is of the essence here though. For mold to develop to damaging levels on sheet rock it will need to remain wet longer than 24-48 hours and on wood if it stays wet longer than 2 weeks. So once the water source is removed the opportunity for mold to develop is inhibited.

The winters are a time when water intrusion into your home has an added opportunity to occur when it snows and the temperatures remain at or below freezing for a minimum of 2-3 days. Snow buildup on your roofs can form what are called “ice dams” and leak water into your attic. If enough moisture penetrates through your roofing materials and gets absorbed in the insulation or sheet rock, you won’t notice it until the damage has reached a level that could require a professional mold remediation team to remove it.

Ice Dam on Roof

Ice dams form when snow settles on a section of your pitched roof and the temperature above the packed snow is warmer than the snow below it, as this illustration shows. The higher, warmer temperature melts the snow and as it runs over the colder adjacent lower section of roof it freezes before it gets to the edge to fall off. This ice buildup sits against the snow and a void is then created between the two elements, underneath, where water forms. As this water sits there it can permeate roofing materials that have porous imperfections in them that may have occurred undetected during the building process or have developed over time as the elements have impacted your roof.

If you are one of the many Minnesota homeowners with roof damage from ice dams, contact a Minnesota roofing contractor today!

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