3 Tips for Preventing Ice Dams and Protecting Your Home

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One common cause of roof leaks is ice dams, which is when water gets underneath your shingles, freezes, and ends up lifting the roofing material of your roof. It can cause a lot of damage to your home, which is why it is worth knowing how to prevent them from forming and how to better protect your home

Know Why Ice Dams Form

When you have insufficient insulation in your home's attic, it will cause the air in the space to be above freezing levels due to all the heat in your home that rises to the top. That heat will then melt the snow that has fallen on your roof, which gets trapped under a layer of snow on top of it. The water flows down the surface of the roof until it reaches the edges where the surface is cooler, and then forms into ice. If the water gets underneath shingles, it can easily damage that portion of your roof once the water freezes. Melting snow is then going to flow over that damaged portion of the roof and get into your home.

Install an Ice and Water Shield

Protecting your home from ice dams involves installing an ice and water shield beneath the roof's surface. This is installed beneath the shingles along the bottom portion of the roof. It's a special layer made out of polymer-modified bitumen, and it protects your roof from ice and water that may get underneath the shingles by providing an additional layer of protection. If you do end up with water getting pushed under the shingles, know that the ice and water shield prevents water from getting into your home through the wooden roof deck. 

Install Heating Cables

If you have parts of your roof that are more prone to forming ice dams than others, it may be worth it to install heating cables on the roof. These cables are installed along the bottom edge of the roof and provide just enough heat so that any ice will not be able to form along that edge. The water then flows into the gutter and out the downspout, where it is far away from your home and won't cause damage.

Any homeowner experiencing ice dams should reach out to a roofing contractor to help fix the problem. They can help with installing the ice and water shield, as well as repairing existing damage that has already formed.