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Roofing, Protect Your Roof Against Ice Dams
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Roofing, Protect Your Roof Against Ice Dams

Stop the ice dams

Ice dams form and create major problems when, during the winter, the warm air from the home rises into the crawl space above your ceilings or into the attic and heats the roof surface from underneath. Heat, from inside the home, and from outside, will melt the frozen precipitation, whether snow or ice, on your roof. When this running water from the melted snow travels down the roof to the edges , it refreezes. This process of melting snow and refreezing into ice at the edges of the roof or in the gutter is referred to as Ice damming, or ice dams. Either way, it is a big problem in the northeast.

Our three recommended defenses against this process are

Insulation will slow the heat from gaining access into your crawl space or attic, and helps prevent the heat from melting the frozen precipitation on your roof. Insulation helps, but does not eliminate ice damming.

Venting the roof: it is very important that your home has ridgevent installed on it. This vent will allow the war air to escape before it has a chance to cause alot of heat against the roof from below. Ridgevent, in itself, will not stop ice damming, but will help in preventing it somewhat.

Winterguard shingle underlayment. Ice and water shield, or Winterguard, is a peel and stick underlayment that is applied directly to the roof surface, Before shingle installation. Winterguard does not stop ice damming, but what it does do is prevent damage to your home during the months you have ice formed on the roof. It seals itself to the roof and seals any nails that are through the winterguard, which will help prevent an ice problem from leaking into your home. Winterguard is a mandatory for roofing manufacturing warranties to be honored in full int he northeast region of the USA

The problem is, if your original roofing contractor did not use winterguard, the only way to get it installed now would be a new roof, or at least removing the shingles at all areas where winterguard should be, then install new shingles to those areas. It is an option, but if your roof is over 15 years old, I would not recommend doing that method, I would recommend installing a new roof altogether, IF you want to put winterguard on your house.

Stop the ice dams

We have been evaluating and using in the field for six months, a new product that is driven toward eliminating ice dams. This product is a plywood faced 3" foam insulation. In short version, it goes like this;

We tearoff the roof shingles, and apply felt paper to the original roof wood decking. Then, we install a 3" foam insulation board that has a factory side of 1/2 " plywood. The plywood faces up for the new roof. The board is installed using screws that are driven directly into the rafters for support.

We install the required underlayments to our new roof deck, then shingle as we would a normal roof.

The theory is when heat escapes into the attic, it will be nable to melt the snow on the roof because it will be heating the old roof decking which is now 3" below an insulated barrier from our new shingled roof. This prevents the snow on the new roof from melting, and therefore, no ice dams.

We have had alot of good reviews and studies on it so far, and it appears to eliminate the roof heating and ice dam problems. The ambient temperature ob our new roof has remained within a few degrees of the outdoor temperature at the time of reading. This method is referred to as installing a "Cold Roof", and we are pleased with it.

We recommend the cold roof method for those who have cathedral ceilings, because you have limited space to have insulation within the home. But, in reality, this method of cold roofing will work on any home or business.


Street Talk

I live in a 50 year old house and it seems as if we have to install the roof again. Excellent article

Reply
  about 6 years ago

do your homework, and feel free to call my office for any advice or questions

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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