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Ice Damming Requires Attention

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Ice damming is a common problem that is evident in winter by icicles hanging from the eaves, snow buildup in the roof valleys and quick melting of snow from the roof. These problems are the result of inadequate ventilation and/or insulation in the attic area. Icicles hanging on the edge of your roof may look pretty but can cause real problems for your eaves, roof and inside your home.

The problem is caused by the roof being warmer than the external air temperature. Snow on the roof melts and refreezes, typically in the roof valleys and along the eavestrough. This creates a block or “dam” so that additional melting builds up in these areas. Damming can lift shingles and valleys and create leaks in the roof. Excess moisture can form on the inside of the roof resulting in the growth of mold.

In summer, inadequate ventilation will cause upper level rooms to be hot. But more than being uncomfortable, it impacts the shingles. Excess heat “bakes the shingles” from the underside because it cannot exit through the vents. The result is reduced life expectancy of shingles and can limit the manufacturer’s warranty.

The solution is roof ventilation and proper insulation. Here’s how we do it:

  • Increase the amount of insulation. Typically to an R50 value, which is recommended on new homes.
  • Add vents to roof. There should be one vent per 200/300 square feet of roof area. Vents can be in the shape of buttons or turbine, which turn and draw air. Both require a hole to be cut into the roof in which the vent is inserted and then sealed around the edges.
  • Add ventilation in the soffits. Air flows in through these vents and exists through the roof vents. These may require additional vents to be cut into the soffit or at times, replacement of older unvented soffits with newer aluminum or other materials.

The best time to make these changes is prior to replacing your roof, which is why AM Roofing estimators always make a thorough check of the roof ventilation and insulation before providing a quotation. The long-term warranties we offer on both materials and workmanship depend on adequate roof ventilation.

Estimators will do both an exterior inspection and require access to the attic area where they will determine the “R-value” of the insulation in place. The R-value is the effectiveness factor of insulation and in attics should be at R 50, the standard for new homes.

If we determine there is a problem, we can complete the required work, timing it to the roof installation. Doing the work at this time allows entry through the roof instead of by way of the interior of the house. We use Owens Corning insulation, which is blown into the attic under high-pressure. It fills all the cavities, can be installed quickly and offers excellent long-term performance. Also known as “pink” is one of the best products available.

Our insulation/ventilation services are available year-round although the best time is Spring through Fall. The best time to complete the work is prior to a new roof being installed but is provided “stand-alone”. We can improve both the insulation and ventilation issues on any home or building.

Solving the ice-damming problem will make your home more comfortable, reduce heating costs and save money on roof repairs and prevent premature aging of the roof.

Call us today for a free inspection and estimate.

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