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Grand Rapids Roofing: Article About Preventing Ice Dams

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In regions of the country that experience cold, snowy winters, the formation of roof ice dams can be a common problem. While these ice dams might be a familiar sight, they are also capable of causing extensive damage to a home's roof as well as interior structures, walls and ceilings. Grand Rapids roofing contractors know that preventing the formation of ice dams is an essential part of making sure a home is protected from roof leaks and the damage they can cause.

The primary reason ice dams form is because of uneven temperatures on the roof. There are a few factors that need to be present to create this problem. First, the outside temperature must be below freezing for at least a couple of days; of course, there also needs to be snow buildup on the roof. When a section of roof starts to warm up before the edges or the areas by the eaves, the dripping water will run down the roof, but become trapped by the snow that is still sitting on the roof. Because these areas with snow are still below freezing, the dripping water will simply refreeze. This freezing results in the formation of ice dams.

Unfortunately, once ice dams begin to form, water can start to find its way up and under the roof's shingles.

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As water makes its way through the underlayment and to the roof decking, the damage can quickly escalate. Once water leaks occur, the roof deck, walls, ceilings and other interior items can become wet. This leads to mold, mildew and rotting.

While ice dams occur due to uneven roof temperatures, it is also important to understand why this happens. Poor air circulation in the attic and insufficient insulation under the roof are the two main reasons why a roof would have some sections that are warmer than others are.

A professional roofing contractor will be able to help a homeowner identify the reason for ice dams. If the problem is poor ventilation, attic or soffit fans can be installed. When ventilation and insulation problems are corrected, most homeowners will find that they no longer have problems with ice dams. If ice dams continue to form, especially along roof valleys, there are heat tapes that a roofing contractor can install. These heat tapes can also be used to melt existing ice dams if temporary measures need to be taken before the weather warms up.

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