Dealing With Ice Dams

For most homeowners, cold winter weather is a good time to take a break from outdoor home maintenance projects.  However, homeowners should remember to keep a watchful eye out for the formation of ice dams on their roof.  Ice dams can cause serious damage to an asphalt shingle roof so it’s important to take action if you notice ice dams forming along the edge of your roof.  Otherwise, you may end up needing a new roof.

What Are Ice Dams?

Ice dams are a buildup of ice along the lower edge of a roof.  Ice dams form when snow and ice melt on warmer sections of the roof and the water freezes as it reaches the colder edges of the roof.  The ice forms a dam which causes more water to back up behind the dam.

What is The Harm From Ice Dams?

When water backs up behind an ice dam, it seeps under the shingles where it can leak into the home.  In addition, the water under the shingle will eventually freeze and since water expands as it freezes, it exerts pressure against the underside of the shingles causing them to loosen and split.

What Causes Ice Dams?

Ice dams form in weather conditions that allow snow and ice on the main area of the roof to melt, then re-freeze along the lower edge of the roof.  Ice dams usually don’t form if the weather is consistently cold because the snow and ice does not have a chance to melt. 

How Can Ice Dams Be Prevented?

Poorly insulated homes are more susceptible to ice dams.  The lack of insulation allows heat to escape from the home into the attic where it heats the underside of the roof and contributes to the melting snow and ice.  Adding insulation to prevent heat loss and ensuring that the attic has sufficient ventilation will reduce ice dam formation.  In addition, use a snow rake from the ground to clear as much snow from the roof as possible.  This will reduce the amount of melted runoff and also allow the sun to warm the edges of the roof. 

Posted on behalf of Ken Christie, CZE Roofing and Remodeling

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Upgrade to Architectural Shingles

If you are considering a residential roof replacement, consider upgrading to architectural shingles.  Architectural shingles (sometimes called laminated shingles) offer many advantages over traditional three tab shingles at a modest premium in price.  Unless you only need the roof to last for 10 to 15 years, in most cases it makes sense to install architectural shingles. 

Architectural shingles are similar to standard three tab shingles in that they are made from a fiberglass matt soaked in asphalt and coated with ceramic granules.  However, while three tab shingles use a single layer of fiberglass matting, architectural shingles have several layers laminated together to form a thicker, heavier duty shingle. 

As a result, architectural shingles offer much better protection for your roof and your home.  Architectural shingles provide a higher level of resistance to hail damage and can withstand much higher wind speeds than three tab shingles.  In addition, they provide depth and texture to the roof and are more aesthetically pleasing than three tab shingles.

Most roofers who install composition asphalt shingles can also install architectural shingles.  The required skill and installation techniques are a little different for installing architectural shingles, but most of the general principles are the same. 

There is a modest price premium for installing architectural shingles, but they last much longer than standard three tab shingles.  Most come with at least a 40 to 50 year manufacturer’s warranty and lifetime warranties on architectural shingles are common.  Three tab shingles only last about 20 to 30 years.  In the long run, you will come out ahead by paying a little extra for high quality architectural shingles and you will have the benefit of better storm damage protection and the beauty of architectural shingles.

Posted on behalf of Ken Christie, CZE Roofing and Remodeling

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