Posts Tagged ‘Roof repair’

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.

 

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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.

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.

Winter Can Be Your Roof’s Worst Enemy

January 20, 2011

Commercial Roofing Takes a Beating

Winter has two faces: A snowy wonderland or a serious threat to rooftops.  Blizzards, freeze-thaw cycles and frigid temperatures place extraordinary stresses on commercial roofing systems. While most are designed to withstand harsh wintry conditions, roof failures can occur when these systems are pushed beyond their limits.  Heavy snow is a major concern.  Clogged drains and leaks are others.  Snow loads of just two to four feet can be hazardous, depending on the building deck.  For a concrete deck, two or three feet of snow usually are not a problem.  But for roofs constructed of economical light gauge steel, often used in strip malls and warehouses for instance, collapse is a genuine danger.  Snow loads of a few feet could be hazardous and snow removal may be indicated.

When snow removal is necessary, using the wrong shovel on a single ply roof can be a big mistake.  Many roofs are ruined that way.  For this reason, a roofing professional should be considered a valuable partner in proper snow removal, potentially saving a building owner the cost of repair resulting from shovel damage failures.

The best safeguard against winter calamities is routine roof inspections just before and just after winter.  Minor problems with drains, flashings, copings and so forth can be repaired before winter.  Spring is the time for identifying major defects such as split membranes caused by wintry weather.  Major roof repairs or reroofing should be scheduled for the summer and fixed well before winter arrives.

A building’s drainage is also at risk during wintry weather.  Snow and ice can obstruct drains and build up during freeze-thaw cycles.  This ice can get under flashings, copings, drains and joints and wreak havoc on all types of roofing systems.  A roofing professional has the experience and knowledge to identify and correct problems before they become catastrophic.

Most buildings are designed to withstand the worst case scenarios of wintry weather, but if a design flaw becomes apparent, extraordinary measures may be required in the winter.

For example, heating tape may need to be installed around drains to alleviate ponding and ice buildup.  Because of the energy costs to melt ice and snow, heat tape is not an ideal solution but may be the only way to avert a disaster if the building is prone to this problem.  Each type of roofing system presents its own strengths and weaknesses. A roofing professional can determine when a roof is no longer reliable or can assist the owner or property manager in obtaining the routine maintenance required for the roof to survive another winter.  Building owners often replace their roofs as soon as the warranty expires even though it could provide several more years of reliable service life.  An experienced roofer can assess the condition of the roof and may recommend maintenance to keep the roof viable for an additional number of years.  They know how to cooperate with manufacturers to obtain accurate technical information about the reliability and performance of roofing products and their suitability for a particular application.

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.

Prevent Those “Dam” Leaks!

December 13, 2010

Preventing Ice Dams

With the 16 plus inches of snow we were blessed with in Anoka County last weekend (and even more in Washington County to the south and east) it looks like we are in for a good old fashion Minnesota winter. Heading to grandmother’s house this holiday, will take us all over lots and lots of white and drifted snow.

The snow is pretty for photos and fun for snowmobilers, skiers, boarders and sledders but not so great for our houses. With accumulated snow well into the foot range already, there is another necessary chore to add to the list to avoid homeowner headaches that come with the snow melt. We have to remove the snow from our roofs!

Though a shingled roof won’t pop like the Metrodome did over the weekend , ceilings have been known to become waterlogged and collapse under the stress of too much snow and ice dams.

Although individual cases look different, and often result in different types of damage, all ice-dam situations have two things in common: They happen because melting snow pools behind dams of ice at the roof’s edge and leaks into the house; also, ice dams and the damage that results from them is avoidable.

Cause

Ice dams form when melted snow refreezes at roof edges. Anyone who has lived in cold climates has seen ice dams. We’ve enjoyed the sparkling beauty of ice formations built along roof eaves (of other people’s homes). However, most of us don’t stop to understand why these ice bands form until our homes are damaged by them.

Three things are required for an ice dam to form: snow, heat to melt the snow and cold to refreeze the melted snow into solid ice. Ice dams can form when as little as 1 or 2 inches of snow accumulates on a roof – if the snowfall is followed by several days of sub-freezing temperatures. Ice dams develop as snow on the upper part of the roof melts. Water runs down the roof slope under the blanket of snow and refreezes into a band of ice at the roof’s edge creating a “dam”. Additional snow-melt pools against the dam and eventually leaks into the building through the roof or roof trim.

The reason ice-dams form along the roof’s lower edge, usually above the overhang, is straight-forward. The upper roof surface (toward the ridgeline) is at a temperature that is above freezing. And the lower part of the roof surface (along the eaves) is below freezing. The upper roof surface is located directly above the living space. Heat lost from the house warms this section of the roof, melting snow in this area. During periods of sub-freezing temperature the lower regions of the roof deck remain at sub-freezing ambient temperatures. Roof overhangs are not warmed by indoor heat-loss.

Deeper snow and colder temperatures increase the likelihood and size of ice dams. Every inch of snow that accumulates on the roof’s surface insulates the roof deck a little more, trapping more indoor heat beneath the roof deck. Frigid outdoor temperatures assure a fast and deep freeze at the eaves. So the worst ice dams usually occur when a deep snow is followed by very cold weather.

Damage

It’s easy to understand that allowing water to leak into your house is a bad idea. Ice dams cause millions of dollars of damage every year. Much of the damage is apparent. Water-stained ceilings, dislodged roof shingles, sagging ice-filled gutters, peeling paint, and damaged plaster are all easily recognized and usually repaired when weather or budgets permit. But other damage is not as obvious and often goes unchecked.

Ice dams usually develop along roof eaves, above the plateline of exterior walls. Heat lost from homes at this point aggravates snow melting and ice-dam development. There are two reasons for increased heat loss at this point: Rafters on most homes sit directly on top of exterior walls leaving a shallow space for insulation between the top of the wall and underside of the roof sheathing: Low R-value = heat loss! And secondly, builders are not particularly fussy when it comes to air-sealing this point to prevent the movement of warm indoor air up to the underside of the roof surface. Air can leak through wire and plumbing penetrations here. Also warm indoor air can leak from the wall cavities rising upward and passing between the small cracks that exist between the wall top-plate and drywall.

Roof leaks wet attic insulation. In the short term, wet insulation doesn’t work well. Over the long term, water-soaked insulation is compressed so that even after it dries, the insulation in the ceiling is not as thick. Thinner insulation means lower R-values. It is a vicious cycle. The more heat lost – the more ice dams form – the more it leaks – the more the insulation gets damaged – and so on. As a result you pay more to heat (and cool) your house. Cellulose insulation is hygroscopic and particularly vulnerable to the hazards of wetting.

Water often leaks down within the wall frame where it wets wall insulation and causes it to sag leaving uninsulated voids at the top of the wall . Energy dollars are again robbed, but more importantly, moisture gets trapped within the wall cavity between the exterior plywood sheathing and interior vapor barrier. The result: smelly, rotting wall cavities. Structural framing members can decay. Metal fasteners may corrode. Mold and mildew can form on wall surfaces as a result of elevated humidity levels. Exterior and interior paint blisters and peels. And the well-being of allergy-sensitive individuals is compromised.

Peeling of wall paint deserves special attention here because its cause may be difficult to recognize. It is unlikely that wall paint (interior or exterior) will blister or peel when ice dams are visible. Paint peels long after the ice and all signs of a roof leak have evaporated.

Water from ice dams infiltrate wall cavities. It dampens building materials and raises the relative humidity within wall frames. The moisture within the wall cavity eventually wets interior wall coverings and exterior claddings as it tries to escape (as either liquid or vapor). As a result, interior and exterior walls shed its skin of paint.

So the message here is to check your home carefully when ice dams form. Investigate even when there doesn’t appear to be a leak. Look at the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim to make sure they haven’t gotten wet. Check the insulation for dampness. And when leaks inside your home develop, be prepared. Water penetration often follows pathways difficult follow. Don’t just patch the roof leak. Make sure that the roof sheathing hasn’t rotted or that other less obvious problems in your ceiling or walls haven’t developed. And then detail a comprehensive plan to fix the damage. But more importantly, solve the problem.

Solutions

The damage caused by ice dams can be controlled in 2 ways: Maintain the entire roof surface at ambient outdoor temperatures or build a roof so that it can’t leak into sensitive building materials if an ice dam forms.

Cold roofs make a lot of sense. Here you let the cold outdoor air work for you. Keep the entire roof as cold as the outdoor air and you solve the ice-dam riddle. Look at the roof of an unheated shed or garage, a pile of lumber or an abandoned home. Ice dams don’t form on these structures because there is no uneven melting and freezing!

For new construction it’s easy. Design the house to include plenty of ceiling insulation, a continuous air barrier separating the living space from the underside of the roof, and an effective roof ventilation system. Insulation retards the conductive flow of heat from the house to the roof surface. An air barrier retards the flow of heated air to the underside of the roof. And a good roof-ventilation system helps keep the roof sheathing cold. In an existing house this approach may be more difficult to follow. Often you are stuck with less than desirable conditions. But let’s look more closely at all the issues that will guide your strategy.

Insulation: Houses in the northern United States should be equipped with ceiling insulation of at least R-38 (about 12 inches of fiberglass or cellulose). The insulation should be continuous and consistently deep. The most notable problem area is located above the exterior wall. Raised-heel trusses or roof-framing details that allow for R-38 above the exterior wall should be used in new construction. In existing structures, where the space between the wall’s top plate and underside of the roof sheathing is restricted, install high R/inch insulating foam (R-6/inch). Be sure to seal the insulation at this point to prevent warm-air leakage from the living space.

Ventilation: A soffit-to-ridge ventilation system is the most effective ventilation scheme you can use to cool roof sheathing. Power vents, turbines, roof vents and gable louvers just aren’t as good. Soffit and ridge vents should run continuously along the length of the house. A baffled ridge vent (like the one sold by Air Vent) is best because it will exhaust attic air regardless of wind direction. The exhaust pressure created by the ridge vent sucks cold make-up air into the attic through the soffit vents. A 2-inch space or “air-chute” should be provided between the top of the insulation and the underside of the roof sheathing in all applications. The in-coming “soffit” air washes the underside of the roof sheathing with a continuous flow of cold air. CAUTION: Be sure to install insulation baffles above the exterior wall to protect the insulation from the air that blows in through the soffit vents.

Air Leakage: Insulation retards conductive heat loss, but a special effort must be made to block the flow of warm indoor air (convection) into the attic or roof area. Small holes allow significant volumes of warm indoor air to pass into attic spaces. In new construction avoid making penetrations through the ceiling whenever possible. But when you can’t avoid making penetrations or when you need to air-tighten existing homes use urethane spray-foam (in a can), caulking, packed cellulose, or weatherstripping to seal all ceiling leaks like:

  • wire penetrations
  • plumbing penetrations
  • ceiling light fixtures
  • attic hatches
  • chimneys
  • bathroom exhaust fans
  • intersection of interior partitions and ceiling

Contact a Minnesota roofing contractor to 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.