Tips & tricks

How to Prevent Ice Dams in Roof Valleys

The valleys are the roof’s channels caused by the structure’s angular or directional changes. They typically feature W- or V-shaped metal pieces that ferry rainwater and melting snow off of the roof to prevent water damage such as wood rot and mold growth. However, these valleys can be susceptible to ice dams. Learn how you can keep your residential roofing safe from ice in the guide below. 

What Causes Ice Dams? 

Ice dams occur when hot attic air melts snow on the roof, which refreezes along the edges of the property. The heavy sheets of ice can form icicles as melting snow drips and refreezes.

Rising warm air creates ice dams when the attic and roof rafters aren’t properly insulated. The valleys are particularly vulnerable because snow accumulations are often deeper in these areas. They also allow snow to slide down the roof before refreezing along the edges. 

How They Affect Your Home

These heavy ice formations stress your roof, increasing the chances of loose shingles and leaks. Excess water can compromise wooden roof rafters, often causing rot that makes them spongy and structurally unstable.

Mold growth that breaks down wood causes further structural risks. As water makes its way through the roofing system and into your home, problems such as brownish stains on ceilings and walls, peeling paint, blistering wallpaper, and warped floors can develop. 

Ice dams can also weigh on the gutter system, causing the metal parts to pull away from the house. Sagging gutters prevent rainwater and melting snow from flowing off of the roof quickly, often allowing the moisture to pool around the home’s foundation.

If water infiltrates foundation cracks, it can make them bigger through freeze/thaw cycles. The foundation can shift, while any water that enters the basement will inflict more damage.

How to Prevent Them

Stop ice dams from forming in roof valleys with quality attic insulation. Insulation keeps the heat in and the cold out. Ensure all openings around pipes, wires, and exhaust fans in the attic are sealed shut to contain warm air. Also, have thermal breaks installed under all valleys. These materials prevent heat from flowing through and contributing to ice dams. 

Have the roof cleaned at least once a year, as debris that collects in the valleys can hold melting snow. It also helps to remove snow with a roof rake and keep the gutters clear so that moisture can drain efficiently. 


Tips & tricks

3 Tips to Prepare for a Roof Replacement

When it’s time for a roof replacement, you’ll want to think beyond simply choosing the right material and installation date. It’s important to think about your property and how to prepare it so that the roofing professionals have adequate access to do the job efficiently. To help the process go as smoothly as possible, consider the following tips.

How to Get Ready for a Roof Replacement

1. Move Your Cars

Moving any vehicles from the driveway ensures that they’re protected from any damage that could occur from being too close to the work site. It also gives the roofing team a place to park while they work.

The contractors will likely be in and out of their trucks frequently to gather tools and equipment. Relocating your cars also provides room for contractors to place debris and waste from the old roof until they can remove it from the property. 

2. Consider Satellite Dishes & Antennas

If you have a satellite dish or an antenna on the roof, you’ll want to make sure it’s moved for the duration of the project. The roofing professionals will help you relocate the equipment so that it’s out of the way.

Contact your cable provider to have the equipment reinstalled and reconnected after the installation is finished. If you have a satellite, you may want to ask the cable company if they’re able to reinstall it on a pole instead of the roof. This will protect the new roofing materials from damage.

3. Clean Up the Lawn

It’s recommended to mow the lawn at least a day before the roof replacement. Keeping your grass short makes it easier for the roofing professionals to clear any debris or nails from the property.

You’ll also want to look at the surrounding trees and remove any long branches that could get in the way. If there are branches that you’re unable to reach by yourself, contact a landscaping company to help you take care of them before the roofing contractors arrive.