Prevent Water Damage

What is an Ice Dam? (It's A Sign to Think Ahead.)

Because of the seriousness of winter water damage, Team is running a series of notes to illustrate this problem and its prevention. This is the 5th note in this series. On any Michigan roof, an ice dam could be a sign of a deeper problem. An ice dam can and will occur on any roof in Michigan. On a cold day, water from melting snow or ice can melt from the heat of the sun or the warmth from an improperly insulated or ventilated roof. When the water runs down the roof and hits the colder overhang or gutter area, it tends to freeze. As the ice continues to build at the overhang or gutter edge, it creates a dam causing the running water to “back up” and move upwards or sideways. If the roofing materials are not properly installed, water will often back into chimneys, walls, or other surfaces and seep underneath the shingles where it can find corners and finally run down into the structure of the building. Water back up happens more quickly on lower sloped roofs and when gutters are present. If the roof is properly constructed and the right materials are utilized and correctly installed, ice dams usually will not hurt anything. However, insulation and ventilation are very important. The attic space must be kept cold so snow doesn’t melt very quickly when it is cold outside.
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