As the temperatures in Texas drop, people are reminded to insulate pipes and cover plants for the inevitable freeze. Not many people think about their roof. Ice damming is a big problem that can affect the lifespan of your roof. If you notice an ice damming problem this winter on your roof, you need to fix it as soon as possible to minimize damage. There are two main causes of ice damming:
An attic with inadequate insulation can cause ice damming. It releases the heat from the house, which causes the ice on the roof to melt. Due to the heat escaping from the house, the ice closest to the roof melts into water while a layer of ice remains on top. The water flows down to the gutter, which is not heated. The water then freezes again in the gutter. The gutter then becomes blocked (dammed) with ice and other debris. The water has nowhere to go and sits on the shingles. Shingles are water resistant to a certain point, but are manufactured with the purpose to shed water. Standing water damages the sealant on the shingle and can lead to a nasty rot on your roof.
A house with improper ventilation can cause the ice to melt at the wrong speed, further causing ice damming.
What You Can Do
If you see ice damming on your roof, it is imperative that you call a roofing specialist. They will be able to come and properly clear the cutters of ice and repair your roof’s insulation and ventilation to prevent further ice damming. Do not try and clear the ice yourself. There may be a large sheet of ice held back by the dam, which can fall off the roof in a very large piece and severely injure you. Additionally, trying to clear out ice improperly can permanently damage your gutters.