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Wilmington Roofing: Article About Protect Roofs From Ice Dam Damage

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A major problem for some homeowners is the formation of ice dams on the roof. Many people see these ice ridges forming, yet they have no idea how to get rid of them or how much damage they can cause. It is essential that homeowners contact a Wilmington roofing contractor when they notice these ridges of ice forming on their roof.

In order to find an effective solution, it is helpful to know what causes ice dams. These structures typically form after a heavy snowfall followed by a period of days that have temperatures fall below freezing. When these conditions are present and the attic or space under the roof is not properly ventilated or insulated, the conditions are optimal for ice dams to form.

When the underside of the roof decking does not stay sufficiently cold, the snow on the roof can begin to melt. The eaves at the roof's edge will generally stay cold enough to keep this area below the freezing point, but higher sections of the roof begin to warm up, and the snow starts to melt.

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As this snow melts, water starts to trickle down the roof towards the roof's edges until it meets the areas that still have a layer of snow and temperatures below freezing. The dripping water is stopped along this colder section and simply refreezes. This is the start of an ice dam. As this melting and refreezing continues, the ice dam grows, water is pushed up under the roofing materials, and moisture will eventually find its way to the roof deck. Once this has happened, water damage can spread quickly.

An experienced roofing contractor will be able to help identify why the roof is warming at an uneven rate. Typically, this can be attributed to either poor insulation or a lack of sufficient ventilation in the attic. Whether a homeowner needs insulation with a higher R value or they need to improve ventilation with the use of attic or soffit vents, it is important to choose a reputable roofing contractor for best results.

While there isn't much a roofing contractor can do in the middle of winter, they can provide some temporary help for the ice dams that have already formed. Commercial heat tapes can be placed along the ice ridges, and when plugged into an electrical source, the heat tape will melt a small opening through the ice. This is usually sufficient to help melting snow run off the roof and not create more damage.

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