Ice Damming

James Allen Builders Handyman Services can take care of just about any home maintenance and repair issue. Years of experience in the construction industry has given us the unique perspective, knowledge and experience to be able to maintain and repair both common and uncommon problems with your home.

Ice damming is an unfortunate, but common issue for homeowners in southeast Wisconsin.Ice-Damming

On a recent Friday afternoon we were called by a homeowner who suddenly realized there was water coming in their home. They called on us to find and repair the problem. To first identify the problem, we needed to clear the snow. After about an hour we were able to remove the snow from this trap. In this classic case of ice damming, the resolution was fairly simple. By removing the snow it allowed the sun to melt the ice and stop the water from coming in the house.

How does ice damming occur?

Ice damming occurs often when snow melts and freezes on a roof. It creates funnels like this where the snow and ice can get trapped. As the snow melts higher up the roof the water runs down underneath the trapped snow and freezes again. the melting and expanding ice can get underneath the shingles on the roof and cause water to enter the home. The main cause of ice damming is improper attic ventilation (see our article on attic ventilation). In this instance the ice was backing up the wall and getting behind the siding. Any time you have ice damming occur, you want to not only address the immediate issue and stop water from leaking into the house, but you want to find a more permanent way to avoid the problem in the future.

How to fix ice damming.

As builders we want to build the home and insulate it so ice damming does not occur in the first place with proper roof design, insulation, and ventilation. In this particular case of ice damming we recommended two options for the homeowner.

The first was to remove the roofing and siding in this area and install an ice and water shield. This is a shield or membrane installed under the entire section of shingles on the roof that forms a water resistant barrier. It can help avoid future ice damming leaks in the roof. Another option for the homeowner was to resolve the improper design of the roof. As you can see, the valley does not come past the wall far enough to allow for proper snow melting and drainage. This second option required us to rebuild the saddle to extend it past the wall and also install ice and water shield under the shingles.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to fix ice damming. Each home must be looked at individually. Improper roof ventilation or poor insulation may be causing your ice damming. If that is the case, your problem is under your roof and not on it. If you are having an issue with ice damming please call us so we can help fix the problem. We’ll look at your home, determine the cause, and offer you our expert solutions. Call us today.

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