How To Deal With Ice Dam Roof Leaks

October 10, 2023
How To Deal With Ice Dam Roof Leaks

Ice dam roof leaks can be a homeowner's nightmare, and they're particularly common in colder regions like the Chicago area. When ice dams form on your roof, they can cause water damage to your home's interior. But don't worry; we've got you covered with everything you need to know.

What Is An Ice Dam

What Is An Ice Dam?

Ice dams are like frozen roadblocks that form on your roof's edge. They start as thin layers of ice and snow. When the warmth from your home rises and melts the snow on your roof, it creates a frozen dam on the eaves.

How Do Ice Dams Cause Roof Leaks
How Do Ice Dams Cause Roof Leaks

How Do Ice Dams Cause Roof Leaks?

Most roofs have plywood sheathing and a waterproof underlayment. The problem starts when thawing and freezing cycles result in the buildup of ice dams.

Here's how it happens:

  1. Icicles grow on roof edges, blocking melting snow runoff.
  2. Warm air escapes from your attic, melting snow on the roof.
  3. Clogged gutters lead to snow backing up under the eaves.
  4. This trapped water forces its way back under the roof shingles.
  5. As more snow melts and refreezes, it can push water through the roof, causing leaks in your home.
 Ice Dam Roof Leak Water Damage
Ice Dam Roof Leak Water Damage

Ice Dam Roof Leak Water Damage

Identifying water damage can be tricky because it can take some time to become obvious. Look out for these signs:

  • Sagging gutters or eaves.
  • Water on attic ceilings, beams, and joists.
  • Water seeping from attic walls onto the attic floor and insulation.
  • Circular discolored spots on downstairs ceilings.
  • Damp streaks on interior walls beneath ice dam locations.
  • Moisture around window frames and sills.

Ice dams cause roof leaks through a process that begins when the weather warms up. Here's how it happens:

Snow Melting: As the temperature rises, snow on your roof begins to melt.

Water Flow: The melted snow turns into water and flows down the roof towards the gutters, following the natural path of water drainage.

Blocked Flow: However, ice dams, which are thick layers of ice, block the path of this flowing water near the roof's edge.

Water Back-Up: With nowhere to go, the water backs up behind these ice dams, creating a pool of water on your roof.

Under the Shingles: The pool of water eventually finds its way under the roof shingles, usually on the lower edge of the roof.

Barrier Breach: If this water backs up high enough, it can breach the waterproof protective barrier underneath the shingles.

Leakage Begins: Once the waterproof barrier is breached, the water starts leaking into your house, causing damage to your ceilings, walls, and other interior structures.

What To Do With Ice Dam Roof Leaks ?
What To Do With Ice Dam Roof Leaks ?

How Do You Fix An Ice Dam Roof Leak?

Sometimes, despite your best prevention efforts, ice dam leaks can occur. Here's what to do:

  • Diagnose the leak's location and extent in your attic.
  • Contact your homeowners' insurance carrier and document the damage.
  • Call a professional restoration company like Green Attic Insulation Chicago at 847-929-9492
  • Try to remove the ice dams.
  • Turn on fans and lower the thermostat to speed up drying.
  • Check storm window weep-holes and address water leaks around windows.
  • Keep an eye on your ceilings and be cautious about ceiling bulges.
  • Keep checking the roof for potential problems.
Preventing Ice Dams 7 Effective Tips
Preventing Ice Dams 7 Effective Tips

Preventing Ice Dams 7 Effective Tips

To prevent ice dams, consider these tips:

  1. Attic Air Sealing Chicago to keep warm air inside.
  2. Upgrade attic insulation to prevent heat from melting snow on the roof.
  3. Keep soffit vents clear.
  4. Clean gutters and downspouts regularly.
  5. Use a roof rake to remove snow from the roof.
  6. Keep roof valleys clear of debris.
  7. Consider using heat cables designed for roof de-icing.
Dealing With Chicago Ice Dam Removal

Dealing With Chicago Ice Dam Removal

If you need help with ice dam removal in Chicago, don't hesitate to call Green Attic Insulation contractor at 847-929-9492. We are experts in dealing with ice dam related issues.

An icicle is simply a measuring stick of heat loss. Icicle free homes have proper attic sealing Chicago and insulation. Icicles indicate heat escaping from your living space, cycling your high efficiency furnace. Avoid the problem by addressing the root cause.

Ice Dam Roof Leaks FAQs

How much does it cost to repair ice dam water damage?

Cleanup and restoration costs range from $1,500 to $5,000, with an average cost of $3,000. This does not include ice dam removal cost.

Who do I call for ice dam water damage?

Call a water damage restoration company that specializes in ice dam cleanup and restoration.

Do ice dams always damage the house?

If not addressed, ice dams can cause significant damage to your roof and interior.

How can I safely get rid of ice dams on the roof?

It's safer to let trained professionals remove ice dams.

How do I melt ice dams in my gutters?

You can use a pair of pantyhose filled with ice melter to create channels for the backed-up water to drain.

When should I call someone to remove ice dams from my roof?

If ice dam buildup is extensive, your efforts to remove them are unsuccessful, water damage inside is spreading rapidly, or you don't feel safe, call a professional.

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