Ice Dam Removal and Prevention

It’s that time of year again when we have to worry about the build-up of ice and snow on our roofs. This build-up of ice is called an ice dam. With the amount of snow that we get here in the Mid-Michigan area, everyone needs to know how to protect their roof from this accumulation.

The cause of an ice dam is pretty straightforward. Poor insulation and lack of ventilation in attic spaces can cause the roof deck to warm up and melt the accumulation of ice and snow. The melted ice water will then run down the roof and will cause a build-up of ice along the edge of the roof. This can interfere with the flow of water and possible cause damage to the roof itself.

Which Ice Dam Prevention Methods Are Best?

Ice dam prevention is possible, and there are several methods to try. One way is to keep your attic properly insulated. An R-value of 60 is recommended for the Lansing area’s climate. Warm air escaping from the attic melts the ice on your roof. Close up the attic bypasses to prevent some heat from escaping.

You also need to have appropriate ventilation in the attic. Have a minimum of 1 square foot of vent per 300 square feet of ceiling area. Half of these vents should be low on the roof and the other half should be higher up on the roof. Refrain from blocking these vented areas with insulation, as this can lead to the attic area heating up again.

Another thing to consider is a baffle system. These allow you to make sure that the ventilation area is unobstructed. This keeps the air pathway through the attic space continuous. A baffle system will also allow you to put insulation in the attic without the worry of blocking the vents and ending up with an ice dam.

How Can I Protect My Roof from Ice Dams?

One way of protecting your roof is by adding an ice and water underlayment, also known as an ice and water shield. This is a waterproof membrane that will protect the most susceptible areas of your roof from water damage. These membranes are usually made with polymer-modified bitumen, which has an adhesive backing for easy installation.

Safe ice dam removal is also extremely important. Obviously, going up on an icy roof yourself is not the safest plan, but there are ways to get rid of that ice. One way is to take a nylon stocking and fill it with calcium chloride ice salt. If you place this stocking along the ice dam, it will create a channel through the dam, allowing the water to runoff your roof.

Heat steamers represent another form of ice dam removal. These machines use a very high-temperature pressure water stream. It is not recommended that you do this as a DIY project. Make sure you reach out to a professional like Brunette’s to assist with this task, as the high temperature of the water can harm your roof and you.

Heat tape is commonly used to prevent the formation of ice dams as well. Heat tape is coated electrical wires. They are designed to be placed along water pipes to ensure that they do not freeze and burst. But they can also be used on roofs along the roof edge to minimize ice dam formation in the gutters.

How Do I Know What Is Best for My Home?

The best way to know what is best for your roof is to consult a professional. Have a professional roofer come to your home to inspect your roof. They will be able to tell you exactly what your roof will need to ensure that you don’t end up with an ice dam.

Make sure to get a detailed quote from the specialist who does the inspection. This will help you understand exactly which areas of your roof are at risk and what needs to be done to prevent any winter damage.

If you are having problems with ice build-up on your roof in Lansing, Michigan, make sure you reach out to Burnette Home Improvement. Our trained and skilled professionals will come help with an emergency ice dam situation or help you prevent the situation from happening in the first place.

Call or email Brunette Home Improvement today at 517-327-1005 or info@brunettehomeimprovement.com.

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