Insight To Help You Check For And Repair Ice Dam Formation And Inadequate Roof Drainage

11 August 2017
 Categories: , Blog


The condition of your home's roof, shingles, insulation, and drainage are all important to keeping your home's interior dry and protected. Here are some tips to help you check for and make repairs on any deficiencies in your home's roof and drainage system.

Prevent Ice Dams

During winter, it can be common for ice dams to form on the edge of your roof when your attic space is not kept properly cool. An attic that receives too much warmth from your home's interior will heat your roof's surface, causing snow and ice to melt. As the melt water runs to the edge of your roof, it will refreeze, as the edge of your roof is cold and no longer heated from your home's leaking heat.

Each time ice builds on the edge of your roof, it can lift and break shingles and cause unnecessary weight on the edge of your roof that can lead to structural problems when the ice dam forms too thickly. Over time, this ice dam formation will grow under your shingles and even permeate beneath your roofing felt to saturate the roofing deck and seep into your home's interior. For this reason, it is important to repair any ice dam damage and correct the problem causing the warm roof.

There are several methods you can implement to prevent ice dams. You can install heating cables on a zig-zag pattern at the edge of your roof to heat and melt any ice formation. Make sure you run this heating cable into your roof gutters and downspouts to prevent the runoff from refreezing.

You can also prevent the warming of your roof and melting of snow and ice by sealing up any cracks and gaps with caulk and spray foam insulation within your attic space to keep your home's heating from escaping. An insulation professional can inspect your attic for its current insulation coverage and add to further insulation to stop heat from leaking into its space.

If you are re-roofing your home to install new shingles and repair any water-saturated roofing deck, you can install an adhesive ice and water barrier onto your roofing deck to provide extra protection from any potential future ice dam formation. This barrier is self-sealing and attaches onto your roof decking to waterproof it, and it is recommended to install it three to six feet up your roof from its edge to provide full protection. Talk to your roofing professional about having this installed on your home's roof if they are not planning to install it.

Repair Roof Drainage

It is also important to check and maintain the condition of your roofing shingles, flashing, and its drainage system. The manner in which your roof drains water runoff from melting snow and ice, and from rain during warm weather, can lead to interior moisture and water leaks in your foundation and basement. If your gutters and downspouts drain roof water runoff directly onto the soil around your home's foundation, it will saturate the soil and enter into the basement via cracks and gaps between your slab and foundation walls. 

During a rain storm, check the ability of your gutters and downspouts to drain water. Look for any leaks from your roof gutters due to holes, cracks, or sagging of the gutters. If you cannot check them during a rain storm, you can pull your garden hose safely onto the roof and turn it on to create the same conditions. Watch where the water from your hose drains to and how it gets to the ground by the drainage system. Adjust any sagging gutters and patch holes or cracks in your gutters with a patching kit you can find at most home improvement stores. You can also hire a roofing and gutter professional to make the proper roof repairs and adjustments to your roof drainage.

Check to make sure each of your downspouts have diverters to prevent the water from flowing into the soil around your foundation. It is recommended to divert the rain water at least five feet away from your foundation. Then, install a splash guard at the end of the diverter to prevent the water from puddling in one spot.


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