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Madison Roofing: Article About Ice Dams

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In the winter, after a large storm or several days of snow, homeowners may notice icicles hanging from the edge of their roof. These may be pretty, but they are actually ice dams, and they present the potential to do some extreme damage to the roof, and often require the help of a Madison roofing professional.

Ice dams form when snow melts due to heat radiating from the roof. The melted snow flows down to the edge of the roof, and when it meets colder air again, it freezes. Along with forming icicles, a dam of ice is formed. Any additional melted snow will be unable to flow off of the roof because it will be stuck behind the ice dam.

As a result, a large amount of water will end up being stuck at the edge of a roof, which can cause the roof to sag. Since the water has no way to flow off of a roof, it will often begin to work its way through shingles, leading to leaks. Gutters and a downspout may also freeze, and they will sometimes end up tearing away from a home due to the weight of the frozen water in them.

The roofing experts at Hustad Companies of Madison WI can assist you with any questions regarding siding or residential roofing.

Since ice dams can cause so many problems, it is best to prevent them from being able to form, which is due to heat coming from the roof. If the roof is the same temperature as the outside, snow will not melt until the weather warms up and water will flow off of a roof instead of freezing again.

A roof's temperature is normally higher than the outside due to either improper insulation or ventilation. There are also some cases where an air vent, such as from the kitchen or a bathroom, terminates at a roof and is responsible for the heat.

If an attic does not have enough insulation or it is does not have the R value appropriate for a particular climate, it will not be able to prevent heat transfer. This can be generally resolved by having additional insulation installed or ensuring that it is the right type.

Attic ventilation is also important. If warmer air is able to escape an attic, it will prevent heat from building up near the roof. Additionally, moving air provides natural convection, which means that the heat from the motion of air can help prevent melted snow from refreezing.

People may also be able to avoid ice dams by removing snow from a roof with a roof shovel, but it is best to deal with the underlying issue of heat from a roof if possible.

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