Ice Dam

Ice Damage

You might not even know there is ice damage from ice dams until stains start to appear on your ceiling and upper walls, sometimes weeks after the ice has melted.

Freezing temperatures and snow across Central New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania in winter can result in ice dams forming at the edge of a roof and preventing melting snow (water) from draining. Water backs up behind the dam, refreezing and forcing up shingles. The result is water leaking into your home to cause serious damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. The water seeping into your home may even cause structural damage or mold.

Icicles forming along your gutters is a sure sign of an ice dam, as well as a built-up ridge of ice at the edge of the roof.

Helping Prevent Ice Dams

A properly vented roof can deter the formation of ice dams. With an effective roof vent, temperatures of the roof and attic are balanced to prevent the “freeze and thaw” cycle from occurring. Many homes do not have a full-length ridge vent, or the vent is old, a cheap foam solution, or crushed to not allowing air to flow freely. This is a quick fix to replace it before ice dam problems can begin. In many homes, a complete ventilation system will also include under-eave and vented soffits to bring outside air into the attic.

Snow Weight

Each winter, there is typically a devastating story making news about snow crushing the roof of a building. One square foot of snow weighs about five pounds but wet snow can get much heavier, weighing close to 20 pounds or more. When you have a thousand square foot roof, you could potentially have snow weight of 5,000 to 20,000 pounds on it. Rest assured, even older stick trusses were designed to carry a load on your roof of about 40 lbs. per square foot. Today’s engineered trusses can carry 80 to 90 lbs. per square foot leaving plenty of room for snow load.

Do not start climbing in a panic, it can be extremely dangerous to climb up on your roof when it’s snowy or icy. Engineers indicate that shoveling snow off a home might cause damage to the roof. In fact, the weight of a person pinpointed on a weaker part of frozen and brittle shingles on the roof could cause a bigger structural problem than not shoveling off the snow. Avoid scraping or chipping of ice because this can damage the roof and lead to leaks.

In spite of these reassurances and recommendations, 2011 saw near record numbers of roof and building collapses due to snow across the United States.  In nearby Connecticut, residents lost 509 structures, mostly from collapsed roofs. In Massachusetts, 169 buildings collapsed in just one week, according to the state’s Emergency Management Agency.

If your home or building suffers damage from snow buildup, call your insurance provider and call Cornerstone Appraisal & Restoration  at 1-888-831-5011. Cornerstone provides expert roof repair and restoration for metal, asphalt shingles, slate, and copper roofing.