Typical Wisconsin winter weather is what causes ice dams – heavy snows and freezing cold. When a layer of snow builds up on a rooftop, heat from inside the attic melts the bottom-most layer of snow, sending meltwater dribbling down toward the roof eaves. Typically the eaves extend out from the house and are not heated by warmth from the attic. So on particularly cold nights, with the furnace inside working overtime, meltwater reaches the unheated eaves and it freezes. Soon, the accumulation of ice there creates a dam and water builds up behind it, leaking beneath the shingles and into the house, causing damage every step of the way. Ice damming can be prevented.
Ice dams are an ongoing nuisance and can cause extensive damage to soffit cavities, fascia boards, roof sheathing, gutters, and to the most outer portion of living area walls. This ice build-up can absolutely be alleviated, but every house tends to have a different situation as to why this ice dam is there in the first place.
MadCity Environmental consultants are experts in attic condensation, mold, mildew, rotton wood, ice-damming and other hidden problems. We strive to not only help our customers remedy a current problem, we also work hard to prevent future issues. The most important first step is to notice a small problem before it turns into a big mess.
• Icicles forming on the edge of your roof
• Ice build up on the top gutter, roof, or lower edge
• Ice forms in soffit vents
• Icicles forming behind the gutters
• Ice forming on siding or exterior walls
• Ice or water inside or around window frames
Preventing ice damming in your roof is simple, in principle: keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. Take care of trouble spots and you will enjoy a winter free of icicles—and the damage they can do to your roof.
• SHORT TERM SOLUTION – KEEP SNOW OFF THE ROOF
About the easiest solution is to keep snow off the roof. People with low roofs can use snow rakes, also known as roof rakes – rakes on a long pole – to clear away the snow. But people with two- or three-story homes may not be able to reach their roofs.
• LONG TERM SOLUTION – ATTIC INSULATION AND VENTILATION
MadCity Environmental recommends spraying a 2-inch layer of expanding insulation foam on the attic floor, being careful not to encapsulate electrical equipment or plumbing, and then blowing in several inches of cellulose of other fibrous insulation over that. This will keep heat from getting into the attic from below and if heat does get into the attic, good ventilation will give it a way out of the attic rather than through the roof.