Long gone are the days you no longer have to prepare for winter weather in Texas! Texans used to endure mild winters with the occasional day of sub-freezing temperatures, followed by a high chance of 80+ degree weather the next day! But in recent years Texas has experienced some of the harshest winters on record. The record-breaking snow in 2021 alone should put a small amount of fear in every homeowner at what could possibly happen to your home, including your roof, if you fail to take precautionary steps to ensure the best possible outcome. It is important to remember that severe winter weather can wreak serious havoc on your homes roofing system. Even the smallest defects caused by winter weather can grow into bigger, more expensive hassles. So what should you know when prepping your home for this year’s cold season?
Again, before last year, snow was a foreign thing to most Texans. So it is a safe bet to assume that most homeowners in Texas have never heard of an Ice Dam and the potential threat that they can present to a roofing system. In short, an ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms near the edge of a roof and prevents the melting snow located above it from draining off the surface of the roof. The melting water builds up behind the ice dam and forces the melting water to leak into the home’s interior causing water damage to the ceilings and walls.
When this water enters the home it not only can cause initial damage to the surface of ceilings and walls, but it can provide a breeding ground for mold and mildew. If left unchecked these molds and mildews can cause respiratory issues for the occupants inside.
How Do Ice Dams Form?
So how do these dangerous ice dams form? It is due to there being differing temperatures along the surface of your homes roof. The heat escaping from your roof will cause areas of snow to melt and when this melted water reaches the cooler edges of the roof and join with the colder exterior temperatures an ice dam is created. Of course, as the snow above continues to melt and travel down the roof, this cycle is repeated until the ice dam builds up to decent enough size to start allowing water to pool behind it!
How to Prevent Ice Dams?
Now that you know that ice dams exist and are not a good thing to have happen to your homes roof, we should discuss a few options to help you prevent these dams from causing issues for your home. Here are a few steps to help prevent ice dam issues:
- First thing you should do is try to re-enforce your attics insulation to try and give your roof system an equal temperature across the entire surface. You can choose to handle this task yourself or reach out to a local roofer to have them assist you in properly insulating your attic.
- Along with proper insulation, it would be best practice to try and make your homes ceilings as air tight as possible to try and reduce the rate of air flow coming from the interior of the house up into the attic and through the roof system.
- New construction will even create an air barrier thought the ceiling to help reduce the likelihood of ice dams forming on your roof.
- If possible, you should try to remove snow from your roof!
- You can try to use a broom to remove snow build up, but be careful to avoid causing damage to your shingles, etc. Never use an actual rake or any other metal tools.
- If there is a break in the weather and the temperatures rise above freezing you can try to use your outside faucet and hose to spray the snow and help it melt off the roof.
- Contact your roofing contractor to have them assist in prevention and removal of any and all ice dams.
With Texas winters becoming more and more unpredictable, it may be in your best interest to become more aware of ice dams and similar extreme cold weather possibilities. It is important to do all that you can to protect your roof and ensure the safety of your home and your family. If you have any questions or concerns about ice dams and/or any other winter issues, you should invite a local roofing company to send out a contractor to help!