With the arrival of winter weather comes one of the more common threats to roofs in snow and ice country—ice dams. These dams occur when there is water trapped between the snow layer and your roof. This water can become trapped so that it seeps under the shingles, where it then refreezes. The problem occurs when it begins to thaw, since now it will drip into your home. The following can help you avoid ice dams and the damage the can cause to you roof and attic.
Adjust your gutters
Misaligned gutters can prevent ice melt from draining away from the roof, which increases the chances of ice dam formation. Before winter arrives, make sure each gutter is positioned beneath the eaves with no large gap in the back for water to run over the gutter. The gutter should also have a slight downward incline toward the downspout so that water flows freely. Dirty gutters are another concern, since they can't drain water properly. Make sure to clean your gutters in fall. You may also want to install leaf guards, if your gutters aren't already equipped. These keep out leaves and prevent gutters from being filled with snow.
Invest in a snow rake
Allowing snow to build up on the roof is another cause of ice dams. The pressure from the snow's weight can cause a thin layer of melt against your roof, which may become trapped due to the snow on top. This is especially an issue in the valleys of a roof, which more snow tends to gather and become trapped. A roof rake is a specially designed rake on a long, telescoping pole that allows you to pull the excess snow off. Only rake downward, as you don't want to push against the shingles, and stand to the side as you rake to avoid the falling snow.
Consider heat tape
If you are worried that you will be unable to keep up with snow removal, heat tape is a viable alternative. It's not actually a tape, but heated cords that are attached to the roof. A roofer can help you located the most likely areas for ice dam formation so you know where to have the tape installed. The tape produces a very low amount of heat—just enough to melt snow so it doesn't collect and form dams. It's best to target it's placement to trouble areas, since the tape can be expensive and time consuming to install.
For more help, contact roofing services like Maynor Roofing & Siding Co.