Every winter homeowners across the colder portions brace for the inevitable onslaught of snow and ice. Snow and ice can potentially cause large amounts of damage to the entire roofing system so how does ice damage roofs? Let’s look at a few of the issues that arise when your roof and ice get together and some of the steps you can take to mitigate this damage.

How Does Ice Damage Roofs?

Two words haunt should strike fear into the hearts of roofers and homeowners, ice dams. Ice dams are one of the leading causes of damage to roofs and leaks inside of the home. So what exactly is an ice dam?

An ice dam is literally a dam made of ice that forms along the gutters, eaves and other lower portions of the roofing structure. Ice dams are caused when the warm air inside of your attic causes snow to melt and begin falling onto the lower portions of your roof but before it can reach the gutter system to flush away it refreezes. Snow will continue to melt and refreeze on the lower portions of your roof and before  you know you have a big chunk of ice forming on the lower portions of your roof, icicles are usually a sign that your home has ice dams.

The ice dam literally dams runoff from melting off of the roof so instead it pools behind the ice dam and since it can’t take its typical path off the roof into the gutters it finds the next easiest route, through tiny fissures in your roof covering and into your home. Large ice dams have even been known to expand and contract enough to cause structural damage to eaves, fascia, soffits and the gutter system. This makes ice dams one of the roof’s worst enemies.

What Can I Do About Ice?

Luckily there are steps you can take to mitigate ice damage. The better ventilated your attic is, the less likely it will form ice dams. Some homeowners also put heat tape in their gutter system to melt off snow and ice before it can form large ice dams.

If ice and subsequent ice dams are an issue on your roof, call a reputable roofing contractor to examine your roof and make suggestions on what can be done.