What is an Ice Dam?
Prevention and Protection
Installing new shingles alone will not prevent ice dams. Prevention only occurs when the entire roofing system is addressed, including attic insulation and roof ventilation. Ideally, the temperature in the attic space should be close to the same temperature as the outside air.
Adding insulation to your attic will minimize the heat that escapes from the living space into the attic. Additionally, electric outlets, plumbing vents, furnace stacks, and bathroom vents can allow heat to escape into the attic.
Proper roof ventilation allows that heat to escape and prevents your roof deck from warming. The freeze-thaw process that results in ice damming is unlikely to occur on a roof that is properly ventilated.
Underlayments protect the roof deck from ice dams by creating a water-tight barrier between the shingles and the roof deck, but do not prevent ice damming from occurring.
Shoveling Your Roof
It is also important to keep your roof free from heavy snow during the winter months to prevent ice damming, as well as, worst case scenario, a roof cave in. Please be very careful if you decide to take on this dangerous job yourself! You could use a roof rake, but be careful not to damage your shingles. I wouldn't recommend climbing up on the roof yourself, so it's best to hire professionals who have prior experience with this task and who are insured in case of any accidents. Contact us and we'd be happy to recommend a local, quality roofer, contractor or handyman to help you clear the snow and icicles off your roof this winter!