What You Should Know About Ice Dams

As much as people like the colder weather up North and no matter how much fun the snow can be to play in and look at during the winter time, it can cause a wide range of issues for your home, especially the roofing system. When the snow on your house begins to melt, it flows off like rain. However, if the temperatures drop again after the snow starts melting, you face a new problem: ice dams. The formation of ice dams on your roof can cause major damage to the roof and other parts of your home and can lead to extensive and costly repairs in the winter as well as in the spring when the snow and ice all begins to melt. Here at Stay Dry Roofing we have experience with winter roof care and maintenance and can assist you so you know everything you need to know about ice dams this winter.

What Exactly Are Ice Dams?

“There is a complex interaction among the amount of heat loss from a house, snow cover and outside temperatures that leads to ice dam formation. For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof, and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof’s outside surface must be above 32 degrees F while lower surfaces are below 32. For a portion of the roof to be below 32, outside temperatures must also be below 32. When we say temperatures above or below 32, we are talking about average temperature over sustained periods of time. The snow on a roof surface that is above 32 will melt. As water flows down the roof it reaches the portion of the roof that is below 32 and freezes. Voila! – an ice dam” (University of Minnesota Extension).

ice on the roof

The dams form and can quickly grow because it is being steadily fed by the melting snow above it. However, the ice will only form in areas of the roof where the roofing material reaches 32 degrees or colder. When the water hit this area, it will refreeze and form the ice dam and stop the water from flowing any farther off the roof’s edge.  So, the water above the dam backs up and stays in a melted liquid state because it is in contact with roofing material that is above freezing. This water finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering and flows into the attic space. From the attic, it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation and stain the ceiling finish.

This is why it is important to be mindful of ice dams this winter and why you need to be mindful of how well your roofing system is insulated and if any known damage is present before the snow and ice begin to accumulate.

Do Ice Dams Cause Damage to Homes?

Ice dams are a common cause for roof leaks, and if your roof is leaking you could end up with expensive interior damages. Leaks can lead to wet and infective insulation which only worsen the heat and air exchange between your home and the outside air. Water that gets into your home can ruin ceiling and walls and even reach to your floor where it can rot floorboard and ruin carpeting. All of this wet material can cause mold and mildew to form which can not only worsen the decay and staining but it can put you and your family at risk for health issues.  Individuals who have allergies or who are sensitive to things like old can become very sick and even be hospitalized because of the mold. Other conditions can be made worse and many people experience sinus infections, chronic coughs, and other problems because of the mold caused by a leaky roofing system.  Ice dams can make existing damage worse and can cause even more damage which is why you must be mindful of them and be vigilant during the winter and understand how these ice dams form and lead to damage.

snow on the roof

“Heat from the house travels to the roof surface in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is heat energy traveling through a solid. A good example of this is the heating of a cast iron frying pan. The heat moves from the bottom of the pan to the handle by conduction. If you put your hand above the frying pan, heat will reach it by the other two methods. The air right above the frying pan is heated and rises. The rising air carries heat/energy to your hand. This is heat transfer by convection…In a house, heat moves through the ceiling and insulation by conduction through the slanted portion of the ceiling. In many homes, there is little space in regions like this for insulation, so it is important to use insulations with high R-value per inch to reduce heat loss by conduction” (University of Minnesota Extension). R-value is how well the material will insulate so three inches of insulation with a 25 R-value is better than three inches of insulation with a 15 R-value. A local roofing expert, like our team here at Stay Dry Roofing, can assist you with finding the best insulation for your attic and roof so you can prepare for the coming snow and ice and so you can work to prevent ice dams this winter.

Can Ice Dams be Prevented?

The best strategy for preventing ice dams is to keep your roof cold. First, make sure you have the right kind of insulation installed, using R-38 at the very least. Next, it is important to inspect your roofing system inside and out at least once a year but two or more times a year is ideal. This will ensure you are noting any and all changes and can detect problems and damages when they are minor. Dealing with them before they have the chance to get out of hand is critical! You also should do routine checks of your roof to look for leaks where air can move between your home and the outside. These are known as energy leaks and are a prime place for roof damage to occur, especially if you do get ice dams forming. Your best bet is to work with a roofing professional to come in and test your home for energy leaks, particularly up to the roof, after which they can recommend the best course of action.

If your home is due for some remodeling or repairs involving the roof or siding, take the opportunity to find and seal air leaks and upgrade your insulation.  You may also want to consider a new roof or a major upgrade to ensure your roofing system is ready for the winter cold ahead. Preventing ice dams from forming will save you money overall, by increasing the lifespan of your roof, keeping your roof in good condition, maintaining the integrity of your home’s structure, and keeping insulation in peak working condition. For a professional inspection or for emergency help in the event of an ice dam, contact Stay Dry Roofing today and let us help you with the best local expert roofing care available. Call now to get started and protect your home from ice dams this winter!

Dealing With Icicles on the Roof Safely

Sub-freezing temperatures and warmer sunny periods during the day can create one of the many breath-taking sights of a winter wonderland-icicles. While these icy creations are pretty in scenic pictures and are considered a part of the winter season, they do have a darker and even dangerous side. Icicles can actually pose a real danger to people, pets, and property, especially if they are not removed the correct way. That is why we here at Stay Dry Roofing wanted to take some time to address the importance of dealing with icicles on the roof in a safe and effective manner.

Dangers icicles pose

Clogged gutters and downspouts are among of the biggest contributors to icicle formation. When the gutters cannot drain properly the water backs up and freeze into sheets and rivers of ice. Icicles on the roof will begin to form and grow. To prevent icicles from forming, keep your gutters clear of leaves, needles, and other debris. Clogged gutters will quickly accumulate ice and snow which can drastically increase the weight the gutters and eaves of our home are having to support. It is common for gutters to tear off the roof under the sheer weight of ice and snow. This can damage the roof and property around the home and can seriously injure anyone in the vicinity. When gutters are clogged you can also get ice dam formations along with icicles on the roof. “The three things necessary to form icicles — snow, heat to melt the snow and cold weather — are also needed to form ice dams… Ice dams form when warm air from inside your home melts snow on the roof. When the meltwater reaches the colder eaves (the part of the roof that extends beyond the walls), the water refreezes and creates a buildup of ice along the edge of your roofline, states the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety” (IBHS). So, icicles hanging from a roof could indicate a serious ice dam problem but it is important to remember that ice dams can form with no icicles on the roof and icicles can form even when there is no ice dam present at all.

snow ice and icicles

 

Protecting people, property, and pets

When too much ice builds up, the sheets of ice can break off, icicles can snap and fall and heavy snow drifts can fall, causing damage to people and property below. Trying to chip the ice from the gutters and trying to knock off the icicles on the roof while balancing on a ladder are both extremely dangerous and can cause even more damage and greater injury. When you have a problem with ice and snow accumulation and have icicles you need to safely remove, it’s best to enlist the support of a roofing professional. Melting snow and ice can cause water damage to your roof and attack and dripping icicles can cause water damage to your eaves and the foundation of your home. The best way to protect your home from water damage and damage caused by heavy ice and snow and the best way to protect your family and pets from the dangers of falling icicles and snow packs is to call in professional roofing help.

Thousands injured from falls off ladders

Before you clean your gutters, however, make sure you review your ladder safety notes and follow proper ladder safety measures. In the United States, falls from ladders is a leading cause of home-based injuries. “Ladder-related injuries per 100,000 people rose almost 27 percent during the 16-year study period — 97.3 percent occurred in non-occupational settings, such as homes and farms. More than 2.1 million people needed to be hospitalized, about twice the overall admission rate for consumer-product related injuries” (ISHN). If it is not worth the risk of a fall to try and get your roof and gutters cleared off. Always know your limits and if you do not feel you can do it safely and properly then wait till you are able to call in expert help to deal with ice, snow, and icicles on the roof!

Ladder Safety 101

If you do decide to get on a ladder to deal with snow and icicles on the roof then follow these basic ladder safety tips each and every time!

  • The ladder should extend at least 3 feet over the roofline to ensure you are not reaching too far back behind the center of gravity.
  • Always use a ladder on flat ground and make sure you are using leg levelers to balance the ladder when using one on soft or uneven ground.
  • Check the ladder’s maximum load rating and make sure your weight combined with any supplies you are carrying does not exceed the weight limits.
  • Straight and adjustable ladders should not be used unless they have slip-resistant feet and are in good working order.
  • Do not use a metal ladder if your roof has power lines running to it and do not use near power lines or electrical equipment; a wood or fiberglass ladders is safer.
  • Make sure to inspect the ladder before using it and make sure all rungs, locks, and spreader braces are in good order and properly engaged before getting on the ladder.
  • If possible, have someone with you who can hold the ladder and act as a spotter for you while you are on the ladder and on the roof as well.

Hire a contractor

Getting on your roof yourself is not recommended if you’re not used to regularly climbing ladders at those heights. If you do not use ladders on a regular basis as part of your job and are not rained in proper ladder safety measures it is best to call in the experts rather than risking it on your own.  When looking for a roofing contractor, make sure you check to ensure you are working with a professional company and area avoiding scams and fakes.  Ask to see their business license, proof of insurance, certifications, permanent business address, and Better Business Bureau rating. Here at Stay Dry Roofing, we have decades of experience and years of hands-on training and our team of roofing experts are ready to go to work for you. Call us today to schedule a free consultation appointment and let us show you what we can do for you and how we can help you deal with icicles on the roof safely!

winter roof care in Indianapolis

Tips for Safe Removal of Snow From Your Roof

During the winter months, snow can accumulate on the roof of your home and if it gets too deep and heavy, it can cause problems for your home. The removal of snow from your roof is something that needs to be undertaken only with careful planning and consideration. Most of the time, you are better off leaving the snow on the roof of it is not too heavy or causing any problems- this is because there are certain risks involved with removing snow and ice and the risk of damaging property or injuring someone during the process. But if you do have to get the snow off the roof, here are a few important tips for leaning the roof of snow this season:

ice and snow problems on roofsDon’t use high powered machines or mechanical snow removal equipment because there is too high a risk of damaging the roof and this outweighs any benefits the speed could bring.

Don’t use sharp tools to break up ice and heavy snow packs. Tools like picks and metal rakes and shovels can treat shingles- it is best to use plastic and chip away at the snowpack slowly.

Do make sure you take the time to remove any drifted snow piles before you go on the roof- first at any of the key building elevation change and then at parapets and near any equipment.

Do remember that you need to remove any snow that might be remaining after you have cleared things off during the removal of snow from your roof.

remove snow and ice from roofing systemsDo make sure that as you are working to remove snow from your roof that you do so in the direction of the roof’s angles and slopes in order to prevent uneven snow loading and weight.

Don’t stockpile snow on the roof. Don’t push and pile then push and pile again- work in on a strip and push the snow all the way off then go and do the next pass the same way.

Do dispose of removed snow to prevent it from piling up to the roof line. Proper distribution of cleared snow is an important part of the removal of snow from your roof.

Do keep snow from piling up around fire escapes, ventilation areas, AC or heating units, and other structures. This is one of the tips for cleaning the roof of snow many don’t think about.

Do require any contractors you work with to use safety equipment and to follow all codes and regulations from OSHA and the EPA and other governing entities.

winter roofing damageDo have someone remain on the ground as a spotter as well as to help ensure pedestrians and vehicles are not in the danger zone and are now hit by falling snow or ice.

Do be mindful of ice as you work in the removal of snow from your roof. Black ice can cause slips and falls and icicles falling even a foot from the roof can cause serious injury.

Do be ready for roof snow to come loose and slide off when using a roof rake. Make sure you stay a safe distance away from the eaves and well beyond the sliding radius.

Don’t forget to remember there maybe skylights, vent pipes, electrical boxes, and other items and structures that may be obscured by the snow that you don’t want to walk on or hit.

roof maintenance in the winterWhen it comes to winter home care chores, the removal of snow from your roof is one of the most dreaded and also the riskiest of them all. If you need help dealing with snow accumulating on your roof, follow these handy tips for cleaning the roof of snow and give us a call. Our team of roof care experts here at Stay Dry Roofing can help keep you and your family and your home safe all winter long. Call us today for a consultation!

preparing for winter roofing needs

Winter Roof Care in Indianapolis

As the cooler weather descends and snow begins to accumulate on the roof, there is a lot that homeowners need to think about. One of the biggest chores in the winter is making sure the roof survives the brutal effects this time of year can have on the home. But what are the signs that you may be facing a potential winter headache with your roof? Here at Stay Dry Roofing, we know the warning signs most often seen this time of year. If you stay on the lookout for these three key warning signs you will be in good shape for winter roof care:

Snow Accumulation

removing snow from the roofGood winter roof care starts before the snows even begin to fall and ends after the snows have fully melted away. When the snow gets too thick on the roof it can cause problems. Snow gets heavy and can quickly pack down into dangerous snow packs that can easily damage the roof and when these snow packs get too heavy they can even be too much strain for the support struts of the roofing system.  Also, heavy sections of this snow accumulation are prone to suddenly giving way and sliding off the roof. This can damage the roof by tearing off shingles and gouging holes into the roof and it can also tear off gutters and falling snow packs can injure people or pets and damage vehicles and other possessions. So snow accumulation has to be kept under control!

Icicles on Gutters and Eves

ice dam damgersIcicles are another warning sign the winter roof care is needed. They may look beautiful in the morning with the sun setting them aglow but if your roof has massive icicle spikes forming along the gutters and eaves then you should take note. This is a major warning sign for the formation of an ice dam, possibly the biggest threat to the roof and your home as well in the winter. These heavy patches of ice will put undue stress on the supports of the roof and can also cause severe water damage when they melt. They also make the roof slippery and unsafe if anyone tried to go up to clear off snow after a massive snowstorm. If you suspect you have ice dams forming you need to call in the Stay Dry Roofing experts and let us help you safely remove the threat!

Water Damage Inside

winter roof careWhen the roof has been compromised in some way and has missing shingles, damaged struts, or compromised lining, the interior of your home can be at great risk for water damage as the winter season ends. As the warmer weather comes, ice and snow will begin to melt and run off your roof. If the water runs over damaged areas of the roof it can seep into your home and cause water leaks. If water finds its ways into your home a lot of damage can be done very quickly because it can affect the supports in the attic, your celling our walls, it can leak down into the floorboards, and leaks in the ceiling often end up dropping onto other possessions such as furniture or electronics. Call our emergency roofing repair team if you discover you have leaks caused by winter snow and ice damage!

Contact Us For Winter Roof Care

The best way to avoid these winter roofing hazards is to have the professional team here at Stay Dry Roofing help you with all aspects of your roof care and maintenance.  If you need repairs, give us a call, we will handle it for you!  Contact us today to get started on your winter roof care plan!

Protecting Your Home From Overhanging Branches

When it comes to winter roof care and preparation, there is one thing that most homeowners never even think about. Protecting your home from overhanging branches is an important part of taking care of the roofing system, but it is not something you have to worry about in winter, right? Landscaping is a concern of the summer and spring months, right? Well, yes warmer months are generally when we work on trimming trees and taking care our landscapes but this does not mean we can slack off when the snows begin to fall! Here at Stay Dry Roofing, we have seen our fair share of damaged roofs due to overhanging branches and limbs that gave out due to the weight of snow and ice.

Protecting Your Home From Overhanging Branches

Winter roof care is a big deal and you can do a lot to protect your roof and thus your home and family by ensuring your trees are ready to weather the winter months. One of the best ways you can go about protecting your home from overhanging branches that give out during snow and ice storms is to remove all weakened or damaged branches before winter. Most of the times, branches that fall are ones that have already been weakened or damaged in some way before the first snowflake ever falls. Removing these branches removes the risk of them falling on your home. Image the damage a large tree limb causes when it falls on a roof and then double that because of the snow and ice load it will carry and it is easy to see why this is something you cannot ignore! Protecting your home from overhanging branches can also be done by keeping all tree branches back away from the home entirely. Here at Stay Dry Roofing, we can help you get the upper hand on your winter roof care by inspecting your roof system and making recommendations for how you can best prepare.

Winter Roof Care Done Right

You do not want to skip the trees when it comes to making your winter preparations. Even if the cold season is still months away the time to focus on your trees is now so you are ready to go when the snow begins to fall. Make sure you cut back as much as you can and keep branches and limbs away from your home. Don’t risk the safety of your family! When it comes to protecting your home from overhanging branches and snow and ice fall damage, Stay Dry Roofing is here to help! Contact us today to get help with your winter roof care plan!