Preventing Ice Dams: Reinforcing Your Low-Slope Roof Before Winter Arrives

If you have a roof with a low slope that always builds up with dangerous ice dams every winter, take steps to prevent the problem now. Although low-slope roofing systems are very popular with a number of homeowners, they can create ice dams when it snows or rains heavily in cold weather. If you don't reinforce your low-slope roof, you may end up with expensive water and moisture damage inside your attic and beneath the roof's underlayment once the temperatures outdoors rise. Here are things that may cause your wintery ice dams and steps you may take to prevent them.

The Issue at Hand: Ice Dams Form on Your Low-Slope Roof

The pitch or angle of your roof may have a lot to do with why ice dams form on it. Roofs that have steeper slopes may drain water easier. However, lower pitched roofs may not have enough surface available to drain water properly. Instead, the water collects on the gutters, freezes, and then backs up along the sloped sides of the roof.

The insulation beneath your roof's underlayment may also determine how melted snow and rain water affects it. If the insulation can't prevent heat from escaping through your attic to the outside of the home, ice dams can form once the snow melts and ices over again. 

The best way to prevent the formation of ice dams is insulate your attic and roof properly, as well as reinforce the roof with a metal system.

The Solutions: Possible Ways to Prevent the Formation of Ice Dams

Your roofing contractor may suggest that you seal up any holes or weakened areas of the attic with foam insulation. Foam insulation expands once it's placed. The expanded insulation keeps rain and melted snow from dripping inside the attic.

In addition, the insulation stops heat from escaping through the ceiling of the attic and roof's underlayment. As a result, the frozen water doesn't melt and form ice dams on your roof.

Replacing your current roofing system with a metal roof may be a good option for you. Metal roofs come with smooth surfaces that may not hold onto water once snow and ice melts. Instead, the water runs down toward the ground. 

All of the solutions mentioned above may help you overcome your ice dam problem in the winter. However, you should contact your roofing contractor for additional assistance. The sooner you reinforce and protect your roof, the better you may be in the winter.