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Toledo Roofers: Article About Keeping Ice Dams From Forming

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After several days of snow or a heavy storm, people may notice icicles forming along the edge of their roof. These are called ice dams by Toledo roofers, and they can be dangerous for the well being of the roofing materials as well as homeowners.

Roofs are designed to have water flow off of them. Ice dams can allow water to build up and sit on a roof, leaving a roof and home vulnerable to water damage. Ice dams form when the roof of a home is warmer than the temperature outside. The heat from the roof causes snow on the roof to melt.

Water from melted snow flows down a roof until it meets freezing air, which is generally the edge of a roof. The melted snow freezes again, which results in ice dams. Once ice dams form, any other water from melted snow is trapped behind the ice dam, and it is too warm to freeze again. The resulting pools of water are bad because roofs are not designed to have standing water on them. Water flows off of a roof as a result of the roof's incline and due to the fact that roof shingles are generally hydrophobic. However, when water can't flow off of a roof, it can penetrate a roof's normal defenses.

The roofing team from Johnson Construction of Toledo would be happy to answer any question you have about siding or residential roofing.

When this happens, water may seep through shingles and into an attic. This can lead to water damaged wood, especially in the rafters and other support structures. Water that has made its way into an attic can also soak into insulation, which may lower its effectiveness and R value.

Stopping ice dams from forming can be done by preventing heat from radiating through a roof, which is the best way to handle the problem, or to remove snow from a roof. If a roof is warmer than the outside temperature, it is likely due to poor insulation, insufficient ventilation or an exhaust system from a kitchen or bathroom that terminates at the roof.

Heat tape and roof shovels are generally used to keep snow from building up on a roof. The issue with heat tape is that it can be energy inefficient and, if not installed properly, still allow ice dams to form. Roof shovels can scrape snow off of a roof, but the entire roof must be shoveled or ice dams will still form where snow was not removed. This can be tedious and difficult work, and so homeowners are always encouraged to consult with professional contractors when planning roof maintenance.

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