Posts Tagged ‘ice dams’

Attic Condensation & Ice Dam Leaks

February 10, 2011

Preventing Ice Dam Leaks

Attic condensation and ice damming are related. Both can be caused by warm, moist air leaving the house and entering the attic. Attics will be in good shape if there are no holes, air leaks, or bypasses from the house to the attic and there is sufficient insulation to keep house heat from escaping. If you can ensure good air sealing and insulation, the attic will remain cool and dry, as if it were outside. For example, it is rare to see moisture problems or ice damming on the roof of a detached garage or unheated barn.

Formation Of An Ice Dam

Where to look for leaks

  • around plumbing stacks or plumbing walls
  • chimneys through the attic
  • any light fixtures from the ceiling below
  • electric wiring
  • ducting for fans or heating systems
  • perimeter walls
  • partition walls
  • party walls
  • above pocket doors
  • above lowered ceilings
  • where the side of a cathedral ceiling meets an open attic
  • split level discontinuities
  • where additions meet an older section of the house
  • above rounded corners or staircases
  • balloon frame walls

Prevent Ice Dams With Ventilation

Attic Venting

If you have properly sealed the attic you should not need more attic ventilation. Attic ventilation is overrated. In winter, the cold outside air cannot hold much humidity or carry moisture away from the attic. In summer, attic temperatures are more affected by the sun and shingle color than by the amount of ventilation.

Ice Damming

Ice dams are the large mass of ice that collects on the lower edge of the roof or in the gutters. As more melting snow (or rain) runs down the roof, it meets this mass of ice and backs up, sometimes under the shingles and into the attic or the house.

Ice damming usually occurs with a significant depth of snow on the roof. If the attic temperature is above freezing, it warms the roof sheathing which melts the snow lying on the shingles. This water runs down the roof until it meets the roof overhang, which is not warmed by the attic and will be at the temperature of the surrounding air. If the air and the overhang are below freezing, then the water will freeze on the roof surface and start the ice dam.

The balance between removing ice and damaging the roof

Thick ice is hard to remove. You must decide if trying to remove it will cause more damage than leaving it on the roof. Tools, such as hammers, shovels, scrapers, chain saws, and devices such as shoes with ice spikes can damage roofing materials or the structure below. Chemical de-icers can discolor shingles, break down membranes and corrode flashings and drains. De-icers can also damage plants on the ground.

Has your roof been damaged by a winter storm and you’re now looking for a Minnesota roofing contractor to fix it?

If damage has occurred and ice must be removed, hiring professionals that use steamers is strongly recommended.

Was Your Roof Damaged From Ice Damming This Winter?

February 3, 2011

Roof Damage from Ice Dams this Winter

Winter Roof Damage

Ice dams in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area of Minnesota can be nightmares, potentially costing you thousands.

Minnesota winters are hard on our homes. Ice dams are created by a number of factors, most importantly the damage they cause can be significant; water leaks, ice buildup, shingle damage, gutter damage and even structural damage or failure.

The severe weather this winter is not only a headache for commuters but it can also be a huge hassle and hazard for Minnesota homeowners. If you have long icicles hanging from your gutters, that’s a warning sign of possible ice dams on your roof which could lead to major damage to your home.

If you see a buildup of ice and an accumulation of icicles, you need to have a roofing contractor or gutter cleaning company come out and check it out. If left unattended, it can be quite expensive to fix.

  1. Call a professional: Removing an ice dam can be quite dangerous. A good place to start is with a reputable roofing contractor. Check and get estimates and references from contractors in your area. Gutter cleaning companies may also offer this service.
  2. Remove snow from the roof: If you’re tackling the job yourself, there is a special tool for removing snow called a “roof rake”. Carefully pull it down the slope of the roofline. Never pull snow across the roof. You could damage the shingles.
  3. Chip away at the ice: For immediate action, you can chip away through the ice dam so the water can flow through. Stop when you get close to the roofing.
  4. Properly ventilate and insulate the attic: The main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic.
  5. Never walk on a snow-covered roof: Make sure you work from a ladder to access/fix the damage.
  6. Do not install mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics: These are a fire hazard. Stick to insulation to help keep heat in your home.
  7. Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow off the roof: These chemicals are very corrosive. The runoff of these chemicals can also damage grass and plants.

MN Snow and Ice Dam Removal

Removing Ice on roof with steam in Minneapolis, MN

Has your roof been damaged by a winter storm and you’re now looking for a Minnesota roofing contractor to fix it?

Our ice dam removal services start with safely and carefully removing the snow from your roof. Once the snow is removed from the ice dam areas we will then melt the ice dams using commercial grade heavy duty steamers.

 

Steam Method To Remove Ice Dams

February 2, 2011

Safely Remove Ice Dams With Steam In Minnesota

Ice dams are created by a number of different factors, such as snow accumulations and heat loss. But, most importantly are the damage they can cause and the significant damages that can incur do to; Water leaks from ice buildup, shingle damage from ice forming under the shingles. Gutter and Soffit damage from the weight and pressure from ice as it forms at the eaves, and structural damage as water intrusion can rot the untreated lumber used in the construction of your home. Not to mention the rot of your sheet rock as water leaks in and on your ceilings and walls.

Ice dams may seem harmless at first, but they are known to cause thousands of dollars in repair due to roof leaks, structural damages and interior repairs to your home. Results of ice dams can create dangerous mold growth, which can cause or aggravate allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases.  Fighting ice dams can be costly and, you also need to know how to approach the problem to make your efforts more efficient to permanently eliminate ice dams.

If damage has occurred and ice must be removed, hiring professionals that use steamers is strongly recommended.  Using a “Steam Method” of ice removal, as opposed to other methods which may include a hammer and chisel, will safely remove ice dams without damaging the integrity of your shingles.

Ice Dams Have Been A Big Problem For Minnesota Homeowners

February 1, 2011

Steam Removal of Ice Dams | Ice Dam Removal

Ice Dam Defense

Ice damming has been a big problem here in Minnesota this year. Record snowfall amounts in December, preceded and interspersed by bouts of sleety precipitation, produced the perfect storm for ice dams to flourish.

Although sometimes thought of as a problem with roofing or attic ventilation, ice dams are actually caused by the presence of warm air in the attic, combined with snow on the roof and the right weather conditions. Ice dams occur when heat leaks into the attic and melts the underside of the snow on the roof. The melted snow then flows down the roof surface until it reaches a cold spot (such as the eaves or soffit) where it forms a frozen dam, behind which more snowmelt and ice pile up.

The ice build-up can back up under the shingles, damaging them and allowing water to leak ICE DAM to the ceilings and walls below.

The source of ice dams: attic air leaks

Warm air leaking from the house into the attic is the primary cause of ice dams. Anywhere there is a penetration into the attic space (around wires, plumbing vents, light fixtures, chimneys, and knee walls) there is the potential for air leaks. Even homes that are only a few years old may not be properly sealed. To avoid these types of problems and eliminate most ice dams, attic air leaks must be sealed with caulking or expanding spray foam.

Solutions

  • Sealing attic air leaks saves energy and is key to preventing ice dams.
  • An energy audit with an infrared scan can pinpoint trouble spots.
  • If damage has occurred and ice must be removed, hiring professionals that use steamers is strongly recommended.

Ice Dam Defense
There are 3 ways to defend against the damage ice dams cause.  All 3 work together.

  • Insulation/ Insulation keeps heat from escaping from your home’s living space into your attic.
  • Ventilation/ Ventilation removes the heat and keeps the roof deck evenly cool to help prevent snow from melting on the roof.
  • Water-proofing/Water-proofing is laid across the roof before shingles are applied and protects against dams that form on the roof.

With existing roofs, waterproofing underlayment is only an option if you remove the existing shingles or are building a new addition.  Either way, increasing the insulation R-value in the attic is always possible, and ventilation can usually be added to your attic quite easily.

An energy efficient roof minimizes problems with ice dams.  A Minnesota roofing contractor can do an in-home evaluation to diagnose the performance of your home and together decide what the best course of action is for your situation.

Ice Dams Still Causing Problems For Minnesota Homeowners

January 27, 2011

Ice Dam Removal | Steam Removal of Ice Dams

Ice damming is a big problem here in Minnesota this year. Record snowfall amounts in December, preceded and interspersed by bouts of sleety precipitation, produced the perfect storm for ice dams to flourish.

“There’s a lot of leaks out there,” say Minnesota roofing contractors, who have been taking calls for help. After a series of wimpy winters, this one and last year’s have prompted ice dams to return with a vengeance. As a result, Minnesota homes are being affected much earlier than usual this year.

Ice dams form when snow accumulates on a roof that’s too warm, then melts and drains down to refreeze at the colder overhangs of eaves. The water that collects behind the frozen dams may seep through the roof and down into a structure. Poorly insulated and inadequately vented attics are the biggest contributors to ice buildups, which can be mitigated by clearing snow from roofs.

Long-handled roof rakes can be employed to pull off the first few feet of snow behind eaves, but locally they’ve become a scarcity. Menards ran out over the weekend, and Home Depot’s supply was depleted for the third time this winter.

Complete removal of roof snow is best, and is best if the work is done by a contractor using a steam unit to clear heavy snow and ice buildups. This method melts the ice dam in a manner that will not damage your roof.

Ice shield membranes, routinely installed along roof edges before new shingles are installed, make a big preventative difference when it comes to water issues produced by ice dam formations.

Prior to five or six years ago building codes called for membranes to extend three feet up from an exterior wall. Under the new code, 6-foot rows of membranes are now standard, and some homeowners request even more. Some people have wanted a membrane on the entire roof.

Contractors say that an ounce-of-prevention is worth-a-pound-of-cure. Thousands of homeowners in the community who had new roofs installed following severe summer storms may have been lulled into a false sense of security. Ice shield membranes guard against water penetration but can’t prevent ice dams that, if left untended, can extend upward beyond the shields.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, problems occur when a series of conditions coincide:

A roof’s upper surface must average above 32 degrees for sustained periods while the lower surfaces average below freezing temperatures. The dams form in the areas that are below freezing, and water collects behind them in areas that are not.

In addition to removing roof snow, ice dam prevention involves controlling heat loss from the house to the attic. This can be achieved by enhancing ceiling insulation that keeps heat out of the attic, thereby preventing the roof from heating up, and by keeping roof vents free of snow.

And as a related precaution, snow should be cleared away from outside gas meters to guard against blockage of regulator vents that could cause gas leaks inside the home.

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

Winter Buildup Still Causing Headaches For Minnesota Homeowners

January 25, 2011

Minnesota Homeowners Still Solving Ice Dam Problems

Ice dams — or ice buildup on roof eaves — are all too obvious and all too familiar to Minnesota homeowners. The shelf of ice along the eave and the icicles are clearly visible, as are the dislodged roof shingles, sagging gutters, damaged insulation, and water stains on interior ceilings and walls that are the result of ice dams. What isn’t clearly visible is what causes ice dams.

Although sometimes thought of as a problem with roofing or attic ventilation, ice dams are actually caused by the presence of warm air in the attic, combined with snow on the roof and the right weather conditions. Ice dams occur when heat leaks into the attic and melts the underside of the snow on the roof. The melted snow then flows down the roof surface until it reaches a cold spot (such as the eaves or soffit) where it forms a frozen dam, behind which more snowmelt and ice pile up.

The ice build-up can back up under the shingles, damaging them and allowing water to leak ICE DAM to the ceilings and walls below.

The source of ice dams: attic air leaks

Warm air leaking from the house into the attic is the primary cause of ice dams. Anywhere there is a penetration into the attic space (around wires, plumbing vents, light fixtures, chimneys, and knee walls) there is the potential for air leaks. Even homes that are only a few years old may not be properly sealed. To avoid these types of problems and eliminate most ice dams, attic air leaks must be sealed with caulking or expanding spray foam.

Solutions

  • Sealing attic air leaks saves energy and is key to preventing ice dams.
  • An energy audit with an infrared scan can pinpoint trouble spots.
  • If damage has occurred and ice must be removed, hiring professionals that use steamers is strongly recommended.

What NOT to do:

  • Installing heating cables will shorten the life of your roof and cost you money to operate.
  • Removing ice with shovels, chippers, chemicals, or heat can damage shingles, gutters, and other building components—and can be very dangerous.
  • Adding roof vents—including powered vents—will not eliminate ice dams, and oft en makes the problems worse.
  • Additional insulation—especially on the top plate of exterior walls—can reduce heat transfer to the roof deck, but insulation alone is insufficient. Typical attic insulation will not stop air leaks or prevent ice dams.

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

This Year In Minnesota Has Turned Out To Be The Mother Of All Ice Dam Winters

January 20, 2011

Minnesota property owners and homeowners have never seen ice dams as severe as we’ve had this year. The result has led to a surge of insurance claims for rotting ceilings and walls, collapsing roofs other problems.

For Minnesota property owners this has shaped up as a really bad catastrophe year. We keep hearing the same thing over and over from property managers and homeowners: “I’ve lived here a long time and I’ve always had ice dams, but they’ve never been this bad and they’ve never caused roof leaks until this year”, referring to surging ice dam claims on top of damage from 104 tornadoes in the summer. The worst year for ice dams was in 2001, when insurance companies paid out $50 million in losses. This year has been as bad or worse.  It turned from the garden variety of ice dam winters to the mother of all ice dam winters.

Until this year, ice dam problems were more evident in older houses in first-tier suburbs. This year, even newer suburban houses have problems because the snow is deep and blocking roof vents where warmer air usually would escape.

If your building has experienced  ice damming, contact a reliable roofing contractor to repair the roof damage as soon as possible. They will work with your insurance company and can assist you in filing your claim.

Prevent and Repair Water Damage From Ice Dams

January 2, 2011

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!

St. Paul Advises Residents To Clear Roofs

December 31, 2010

St. Paul Advises Residents To Clear Roofs

The city of St. Paul is advising residents to take action to clear their rooftops of ice and snow now, to avoid potential damage in the future. Taking action now can also help you avoid costly repairs to your roof  from ice dams.

Read full story:  CBS Minnesota – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Minnesota

Short URL:
http://tld30.com/a/?xRISI

Ice Dams Causing Serious Damage To Minnesota Homes

December 31, 2010

Weather Conditions Make Ice Dam Problems Worse In Minnesota

Finally, the rain. You think Thursday’s rainfall was a good thing because it whisked away some snow? Not necessarily. Water retention, especially on flat roofs, could compound the problem, as could freezing temperatures today and Saturday. The melting-freezing cycle is a big reason the ice dam epidemic could continue into the New Year.

In the Twin Cities, many longtime property managers and homeowners say this is the first time in memory they have grappled with significant ice dams. They fear gutter damage, water damage, mold and even collapsed roofs.

A spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance said the insurer has received about 50 claims per day regarding ice dams in the metro area, or more than 500 to date.

Why is this year so bad?

“We’ve had 34 inches of snow in one month,” said Paul Douglas, former Twin Cities television meteorologist and founder of WeatherNation, a weather news service in Excelsior.

Douglas called the convergence of snow, thaw and rain a “worst-case scenario” for ice dams. But he said there’s a pale light at the end of the tunnel: Drips and leaks should stop tonight as temperatures fall and rooftop snow stops melting.

We’re going to be below freezing through next week, so homeowners may have a chance to catch up and try to get rid of some of these ice dams.

There’s also the chance rain and higher temperatures knocked off enough snow and ice to eliminate some ice dams.

In some roof configurations, if there’s not good drainage, it could actually add to the problem. It just wasn’t warm long enough.”

If you have experienced  ice damming, contact a reliable roofing contractor to repair the roof damage as soon as possible. They will work with your insurance company and can assist you in filing your claim.