Not Having an Ice Dam

In this installment of our series on roofing problems, we’ll talk about the risks of not having an ice dam, and what to do about it.

Portland can have some nasty winter weather. It’s during these times that our abundant Portland precipitation can accumulate on your roof in the form of snow or ice. This can cause damming which can cause damage to your home.

Ridges of ice at the edge of your roof can stop melting snow from draining from your roof, and can cause serious damage to the roof itself, gutters, insulation, paint and walls, inside and out.

When an ice dam extends back into the shingle, the ice can melt and leak back under the shingles and into the roof sheathing.

Ice dams usually happen when there’s inadequate attic or roof ventilation, especially if the attic is heated. They can also form if your gutters or down spouts are clogged.

The Fix

Fixing ice dams involves preventing them in the first place. That means checking and improving vents and insulation, removing heat from the attic, and getting more ventilation under the roof deck.

Keeping the roof deck close to the outside temperature will help, and that can be achieved with the right ventilation. This will help the air flow from the underside of the roof eaves to the ridge of the roof.

If you’re reroofing, you can waterproof the roof deck with self-sealing ice and water barriers under the shingles. The easy DIY solution? Buy a roof rake and remove the snow (from solid ground) after a heavy snow storm, before it melts and turns to ice dams.

Stay tuned, in the coming weeks, for the next installments in our series on roof problems.

Other posts in the Roofing Problems series: