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Virginia Roofing – How to Prevent Ice Dams

Homeowners around the Virginia area and the east coast have been getting hammered by the winter weather this season. All the ice, heavy snow and moisture can wreak havoc on a home, especially the Virginia roofing. It’s important to know how to deal with ice dams and water damage that can occur during this season in order to protect your home.

Ice Dams & How To Prevent Them

Ice dams are thick accumulations of ice that form over the eaves of a house, and it’s extremely common on the east coast and the northeastern states. Water continues to collect behind the damn and backs up under the roof shingles through the constant freeze/thaw cycle that occurs in the winter months. The result is damage to the roofing materials where water can leak into the living areas of the home and damage the internal structure.

A home with a low-pitched roof is most likely to be affected by ice dams in the winter but the major cause is actually a warm roof. As heat escapes from the living areas and rises upward, it will warm the blanket of snow on the roof. As that melts, the water flows down the slope only to freeze again once it reaches the unheated overhang where the ice dams up. The more the ice builds, the more the water backs up into the shingles of the home.

Thankfully, despite living in a climate that is ripe with ice dams, it’s easily preventable especially if you’re adding new roofing material to your home. Take these precautions in order to keep ice dams at bay:

Ensure Adequate Ventilation

Your roof needs to be vented properly both at the eaves as well as at the peak. If you have the proper spacing in your attic with ventilation then cold air can move freely between the insulation and the ceiling. This will keep the exterior of the roof cold which will prevent snow and ice from melting. When a roof is being remodeled or built up, inexpensive Styrofoam baffles can be installed to ensure that there is a passage for cold air from the eaves to the peak.

Seal Off the Home

Proper insulation of the attic rafters and joists is extremely important to the solution. Likewise, you need a tight vapor barrier to keep moisture from moving into the living areas through insulation in your home.

Install Snow and Ice Shields

Virginia roofing contractors are able to install these shields on top of the subroof, just beneath the shingles. These products cover the overhand and prevent water from working its way backward into the home. The shields consist of a bituminous membrane that seals the roof and forms a continuous barrier against water that forms in the winter.

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