Ice dams pose several dangers that people should be aware of before winter hits. Ice dams are what their name describes; a dam of ice that prevents water from draining off of your roof. One a pitched roof the danger is always that the amount of ice will become so great that gravity will cause it to fall. It is a deadly accident waiting to happen when a ton or more of ice cascades down onto you or your loved ones. On commercial flat roof, the danger is that the weight of the ice will become so great that the roof may collapse.
In all types of roofs, the hidden danger is water damage. All American Restoration is a commercial roof repair company that services all of Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs. We are an ethical company that was awarded the Torch Award for Ethics, and we provide high caliber customer service. Our decades of service have taught us how to prevent ice dams from forming and how to remove them if they should form.
Preventing Ice Dams From Forming
Ice dams form after snow or even light frost. An ice dam does not usually form overnight. It forms after snow of frost has been on the roof for a while. What happens is the upper area of the roof gets warmer than the lower edges of the roof and any snow that sits there begins to melt. As it melts it runs down the roof or may accumulate in downspout areas. When night comes, that area of the roof gets colder than the upper or middle area of the roof and the water freezes. The next day and the day after, the process repeat itself until a thick layer of ice forms along the edge of the roof. Keeping snow off of your roof is one way to prevent an ice dam from forming, but that is not the best way to keep an ice dam from forming.
The real problem is not the snow, ice or even your roof. It is the air space between the roof and your business or living area. Poor insulation allows heat from your home or business to seep up into the space between your roof and your living / work space. That warm air is what causes the snow on the top or middle of your roof to melt. By preventing that step in the process, you prevent ice dams from forming, and you reduce the risk of damage to your home and personal injuries too.
What Needs to Happen
The first step is to make sure that the insulation layer between your roof and your living/work space is doing its job. Obviously, if it is not then those issues need to be repaired. This may mean putting in new insulation, or it may mean sealing up air leaks that allow your HVAC system to warm your attic. Either way will save you money in the long run simply be lowering your heating and cooling costs.
The second step is to make sure that the attic space in your home or business is properly vented. If warm air should make its way into the attic space then vents will allow it to discharge without your roof getting warm enough to melt the snow. As commercial roofers, we can guarantee you that prevention is cheaper than the cure.
That's all it takes to prevent an ice dam from forming. Those two simple steps can do a lot to help you reduce the risk of a roof insurance claim. As professional roofers, we are in ice dam preparation mode as soon as autumn hits. Our Minneapolis roofers have also dealt with plenty of ice dams to understand why preventing them is the best option. If an ice dam should form the only real tool there is to remove it is steam. Once the ice has melted the water drains normally.
You may also need roof repairs if an ice dam removal was not performed correctly. We can assess the damage and let you know what needs to happen for repairs, and also what is needed to prevent the next ice dam from forming. Call us and we will help.
All American Restoration has been roofing Minneapolis businesses and homes for decades. All of our work is done according to our ethical operations policies. If you'd like to avoid ice dam repairs, or need repairs from an ice dam removal that damaged your roof, just call us. We can have a professional come out and inspect your roof for free.
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