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Toledo Roofers: Article About How To Avoid Ice Dams

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Ice dams are all too familiar a term to homeowners who have lived for many years in climates with long and snowy winters. For those new to the challenges of cold climate house ownership, ice dams are an important hazard to understand. In areas with heavy snowfall, they are one of the greatest reasons for roof damage. Yet, when proper steps are taken, it's often quite possible to avoid their formation entirely. For homeowners concerned that ice dams have already formed, it's advisable to contact reputable Toledo roofers as soon as possible to minimize any damage.

Ice dams form when snow collects on a rooftop and then unevenly melts and freezes, causing water to pool on the roof and eventually seep through. In order to understand ice dam formation, it's key to become familiar with the basic parts of a roof. In most cases, the majority of the roof covers the house. However, around the edges, most roofing has some degree of overhang that extends beyond the house, known as the eaves.

As snow sits atop the house's roof, it may melt due to the relatively warm temperature. However, as this snow melts and the water runs downward off the roof, it may then refreeze at the roof's edge.

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This area, over the eaves, is not warmed from the interior of the house as the other areas of the roof are. As a result, an ice dam forms. Over time, this formation of ice can become large enough to block additional water from running off the roof. Given enough time, the pooling water can begin to seep through any seams or weak points in the roofing. In addition, standing water can compromise the integrity of the shingles or other roofing materials, causing algae or mold growth.

The best way to limit the formation of ice dams is to minimize the temperature variation that causes the dams. Improving the ventilation in the attic will lower temperatures and stop snowfall from melting rapidly. Check that both gable vents and soffit vents are clear. As a second step, it's a good idea to improve the insulation above the ceiling of the main house. If this boundary between the attic and the rest of the house is sufficiently insulating, the attic is less likely to become warm. As a result, the roof will not be excessively warm, and ice dams are unlikely to form.

By following the above tips, homeowners can drastically reduce their risks of ice dam formation. As with all aspects of roof construction and maintenance, taking small preventative measures is the best way to avoid pricey and extensive repair work down the line.

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