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Denver Roofing: Article About Ice Dams Explained

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During the winter months, ice dams are very common when a large amount of snow builds up on a roof due to a severe storm or several days of accumulated snow. When warmth from a home seeps through a roof, snow will often begin to melt. Once water from melted snow flows down a roof and encounters freezing temperatures again, which is usually at the edge of a roof, the water freezes again, leading to the formation of ice dams.

Ice dams may appear to be pretty, but they can potentially cause a lot of damage to Denver roofing. When ice dams form, they often prevent melting snow from being able to run off of a roof. If the water does not freeze again, it just sits on top of a roof. This can lead to roof deck damage as well as allowing leaks to form. Sometimes, these leaks are apparent in the form of water stains on ceilings.

However, depending on the size or placement of a leak, there may be no obvious indication that it exists. Therefore, it is important to take proactive measures to prevent ice dams, even if they do not appear to be causing problems.

The most common reason that most ice dams form is as a result of poor attic insulation.

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When heat from a home is allowed to escape due to inefficient or worn out insulation, it causes areas of the roof to heat up, which is why snow melts, even when the temperature outside is freezing. Proper insulation can prevent heat from radiating outside of a home, preventing the formation of ice dams.

Another reason that a roof may be heating up in the winter is when an attic is not properly ventilated. Although the idea of allowing cold air to blow through an attic during the winter seems counter intuitive, it actually helps maintain an even temperature on the roof. Another benefit of having air flow through a roof is that moving air is a natural form of convection, and heat from moving air helps to melt any ice dams that may be forming.

If it is not possible to keep heat from escaping through a roof, another option is to keep snow from building up on a roof. This can be accomplished via roof shovels or heating strips. If heating strips are used, they should be installed in the fall months before there is any chance of snowfall.

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