Look how beautiful those icicle look! Two day’s later, look how awful that stained drywall look’s! Instantaneously, the homeowner pick’s up the telephone, dial’s 1- 800-nearest roofing company and scream’s “there’s water pouring in!”
Winter is a love/hate for many people, but especially within the roofing industry. Every year midwest roofing companies expect the slow months of January and February, but mother nature alway’s has the last laugh. No one should install a “lifetime” roofing system in weather below 10 degrees (the manufacturer’s don’t recommend under 40 degrees) or very much be outside when it’s -10 windchill.
However, if there’s one thing many contractor’s can agree on, it’s that shiny icicles will keep us busy! The roofer’s mind is conditioned to flat out hate “ice dams” because they present many issues for homeowners and us.
The top reasons for ice damming
- Heck if it didn’t snow, melt, freeze, and repeat = THIS WOULDN’T HAPPEN!
- Weather review: If 18″ of snow comes within a 2 day period (February 9-11th) and the temperature rises shortly, then your roof needs to shed A LOT of water.
- Example: Consider your roof is 2,000 ft. of roof and has 18″ of snow, this equates to 36,000 inches of snow! If you use the rule of the industry standard “10 inches of snow equals 1 inch. of water” (there’s varying measurements due to temperature differences). This means that the standard size residential roof must shed over 3,600 inches or 300 feet of water or 188 gallons of water before the temperature hits 32 degrees again (returns to freezing). Often this does not happen, and lead’s to beautiful icicles pouring over the gutters.
- An efficient ventilation system
- Homes are under-ventilated or disportionally ventilated. This is NOT your fault, unless you’re the one building the home and fail to meet the current building codes. Most homes are under-ventilated, because the energy codes have been updated, so if your home has a 20 to 35 year old roofing system in place you’re susceptible.
- Do keep in mind: Today, the manufacturer’s design their systems around current codes or attempt to set the new standard, which is far from the 1970’s standard. Why is this important? It’s important because if the “lifetime roof” is defective and was installed with inadequate ventilation, the manufacturer may use that as probable cause for the premature failure and avoid accept responsibility (aka – not pay for that “lifetime roof”).
- There is an appropriate measurement for intake and exhaust ventilation. Check with your local, GAF MasterElite roofing contractor.
- This is extremely common for older homes. The building code in the 1970’s was R-19 and today it’s R-49 to R-60 for attic with properly vented soffit’s. The standard has increased by 300%. . The building council and energy coalition split North America in regions/climate zones for the proper home insulation.
- Poorly installed home. Each of the below item’s should be installed as per manufacturer and follow local building code to create a unison system.
- The Roofing System – 2 courses of Ice & Water shield, Synthetic Felt, and proper drainage flashings.
- Fascia – Either wood fascia is hardened by the element’s, but expanding/contrasting moisture can damage metal wrapped fascia as well.
- Gutters – Drip edge, positive pitch, downspout every 15′,
- Soffit & Roof ventilation – installed per your homes dimensions
So what can you do?
First be patient, UNLESS you’re home is severely leaking and you’re experiencing ice damming similar to the photo’s showcased. Second, be mindful of the current weather. If there was a severe snowstorm or whiteout, don’t you believe it might be difficult for the local roofer to drive right now? Third be proactive, we assure you if you follow a few of the trick’s mentioned you can decrease the amount of ice damming.
5 way’s to help eliminate ice damming
- Install your roofing system, fascia, gutters, soffit, and vent’s correctly. This will allow you to be ahead of the game (cough – Total Roofing & Construction)
- Clean your gutter system before winter! If you can’t, we can. (Click above). A clean gutter will allow water to shed more easily. Trust us we find Barbies & tennis ball’s all the time in gutters.
- Purchase or borrow a roof rake. This tool is beneficial for removing excessive snow near roof’s eaves, which allow’s any melted snow to freely get to the gutter system.
- Install heat cables or table. You can apply this product above your gutters and throughout your downspout. We recommend installing this in late Fall – November.
- Last but not least, the hammer & salt method for emergencies.