An ice dam on your roof is very dangerous because it can cause severe damage. It will also affect the integrity of your ceiling causing it to deteriorate. If the situation is really that bad, it may also cause leaking in your insulation. This is why it is very important for you not to ignore the formation of ice dams on your roof. But why do ice dams form on rooftops. This article will show you how they develop, and where this problem could lead to.
Here’s What Causes Ice Dams
During winter, the temperature inside your house is hotter than the temperature outside. This is true because you are either using a heater or there’s a fire going on in your fireplace and this heat rises up in your home. If your insulation is not that thick, there will be more heat that will escape through your roof. With more heat escaping through your roof, more snow will melt on the roof. The melted snow will drip as liquid and will flow down to the end of the roof.
The end of the roof is colder because it is more exposed to the colder temperature outside. Thus, the dripping liquid from melted snow will again freeze and solidify. As this process continues, more and more snow will melt on the roof and more and more of the dripping liquid (from melted snow) will freeze at the end of the roof, and pretty soon, you will have a dam build up. And that is a problem that you need to solve or you are liable to experience greater and more serious damage to your roof and the walls of your house as well.
What Would Happen If Ice Dams Form On The Roof?
Make no mistake. Gutters are not the reason why ice dams develop. But they help in concentrating the water and ice in the most risky section at the roof’s edge. As gutters are filled with ice, they will eventually give in to the weight of the ice and bend or may even rip away and get detached from the house, bringing with them the downspouts, fasteners, fascia and all.
Another possibility is roof leaking through the attic insulation. Wet insulation will not work well in the short term. But if the situation is allowed to persist, the water-soaked insulation will stay compressed. Even if this insulation dries, its R-value will decrease. As a consequence, there will be more heat loss in your house. With more heat loss, the chances of ice dams forming on your roof will be higher. And on and on it goes, like a dangerous cycle. The end result is as you have guessed it: expensive repair costs.
What are the other possible damages to your house?
When water leaks down inside your wall, the wall insulation will be soaked and it will eventually sag. Voids will develop at the top of your wall. This will affect the heat transfer efficiency of your walls which will mean waste of energy. But the more serious effect is that moisture will be trapped inside your walls between the interior vapor barrier and the outer wall covering. Pretty soon you will smell the stagnant moisture. Eventually, if your wall is supported by wooden framing, its structural members will begin to rot. The nails and fasteners will catch rust, mildew and mold will develop on the wall surface and the paint of the wall begins to blister and will peel away. Family members who are prone to allergies will start to suffer.
Even if ice dams are visible on your roof, this doesn’t mean that you will soon have blistering or peeling wall paints. The causes of blisters and peeling on wall paints are difficult to determine. This process takes a long time, even if you don’t see iced dams on your roof anymore. But one thing is sure, water leaks go into wall cavities, they dampen building materials and then increase the walls relative humidity. Everything inside the walls become wet and the moist stays there for a long time. So, it is all the more important for you to ensure that no ice dams will form on your roof. To help you assess your particular situation and solve your problem with ice dams, it will be better if you will ask the help of a roofing and insulation expert.