Ice Dam Problems And Solutions
Ice dams are formed at the edge of your roof, as snow
tends to build up during the winter. Snow tends to accumulate near the
bottom of the roof, often melting during the day and freezing when the
temperatures drop in the evening.
Eventually you could have a thick area of ice surrounding the perimeter of your roof. This ice will start to block melting snow as it turns into water, preventing it from draining off the roof. The ice forms a watertight dam, often holding water behind it, acting as a reservoir for the water.
Since this water has no place to go, it will soon build up, looking for any little cracks or holes it can go into. These holes are normally from the nails or staples that are holding the roof tile or shingle in place. The water will actually reverse directions, instead of flowing down the slope of the roof, it will start to flow backwards, underneath the shingles.
Once the water is underneath the shingles, it has penetrated the first layer of protection, the roof shingles. The second layer of protection is usually roofing paper. Depending on the thickness and installation process, this paper can have holes from nails or staples or rips and tears from poor installation or uneven roof framing.
Ice dams are common in areas where snow and freezing temperatures last for long periods of time. Most people think that icicles are neat when they're hanging off of the roof's edge, giving your home that Norman Rockwell picture perfect, winter Christmas look. These are your first clues that ice could be building up underneath the snow on top of the roof.
Removing the snow could be hazardous to your health. Large sections of snow and ice, falling on top of you as you're standing on a ladder, doing your best to remove it from the roof might not be a good idea. Walking on top of a wet icy roof, isn't something I would be interested in doing either.
Contact someone with experience and liability insurance for help with your roof. If you hire someone and they fall on your property and get hurt, you could be liable. Most roofing contractors can help you solve damn ice dam problems. Find one in your area, that you are comfortable with.