How to protect your roof from ice dams

Learning how to identify and prevent ice damming on your roof will lower your cost of ownership and keep your property in excellent condition.

How to protect your roof from ice dams

What is an ice dam?

Ice dams commonly occur on homes during the winter when there's a large difference between the temperatures of indoor and outdoor air. If your interior living space is a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius during the winter, but it's zero degrees outside, there may be a large difference in surface temperatures along your roof and your home's exterior wall line.

If you've noticed icicles forming along eaves troughs during the winter, you've already seen ice dams. While you may think that icicles are a natural part of winter, the truth is that you could be exposing underlying structural elements, such as rafters and sheathing, to water damage. As the ice melts and refreezes, it can work its way under roofing materials and cause problems.

Protecting your home from ice damming

If you've noticed icicles on your home during the winter or spotted stains under your eaves, your home may have a hidden problem that can easily be corrected. A variety of approaches could quickly resolve the issue of ice damming. Minimizing the temperature difference along your eaves with vents or installing a specialty underlayment along your eaves are common ways to ensure that your home is safe from ice dams.

Adding ventilation to your home

One of the easiest ways to reduce the chances of ice damming and protect your property from potential damage is to install vents along your roof's surface. The ventilation is designed to reduce the temperature fluctuations and lets your home breathe. While you may be able to install attic vents by yourself, you may want to hire a contractor who can follow provincial guidelines and determine the exact amount of ventilation you need.

Using proper underlayment

Depending on your location and the slope of your roof, you may want to add an extra level of protection underneath the shingles or cement tiles that protect your home. Roofing manufacturers offer a variety of products that can create an impermeable membrane along the lower edge of your home. The products are usually installed along the eaves, where you need ice damming protection the most.

Safeguarding your home from ice damming is a proactive way to ensure that your property stays in excellent condition. By understanding these preventative measures, you can maintain your property to reduce the cost of ownership.

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