Armchair Builder

Preventing Ice Dams

Ice Dams

Ice Dams

There is a good article in Fine Homebuilding this month regarding water leaks from ice dams.  In case you are new to the term, ice dams are a build-up of ice on a roof that prevents water runoff from getting off the roof.  The resulting water at the dam eventually makes its way back under the roofing material and into the home.

The writer covers most of the possible causes of ice dams as well as the possible cures.  There is one item I think he missed however and that is the possibility that a dark roofing material will create enough heat on the surface of the roof to cause ice dams…even if you properly vented and insulated the roof.

You will want to follow all of the best practices mentioned in the article, from sealing up penetrations in your attic to making sure your attic ventilation is more than adequate.  But in my opinion, it is also good to add a rubber underlayment under your roof to prevent the intrusion of water from ice dams.  This is a best practice in coastal areas due to the high winds forcing water up under shingles and can also be beneficial when the weather is ripe for ice dams.

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2 Comments for Preventing Ice Dams

Ice Removal Around the Home: Do This, Not That- Armchair Builder :: Blog :: Build, renovate, & repair your own home. Save money as an owner builder. | December 6, 2013 at 8:25 am

[...] Does your roof leak only during the cold winter months?  You may be experiencing a problem created by ice dams.  Roof ice dams can be caused by a number of different home problems including poor attic insulation and ventilation.  To find out more about this problem, check out our previous article, Preventing Ice Dams. [...]

Icicles on gutters can signal a problem. What cause them, fixes,...etc- Armchair Builder :: Blog :: Build, renovate, & repair your own home. Save money as an owner builder. | February 7, 2014 at 7:38 am

[...] air is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.   This can cause one of two problems…1) icicles, 2) ice dams.  The typical home attic needs one square foot of open ventilation to the outside for every 300 [...]

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