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The Ice Dam Cometh

November 4, 2015

We all know that winter weather is coming soon.  Extreme weather is the new normal, so it’s important to be sure that your home is constructed to withstand wind-driven rain, snow, ice and everything else Mother Nature brings.

snow on roof

The good news is, if you understand how ice dams form and know about high-quality products and proper roof system installation methods, you can help protect your home from the damaging effects of ice dams.

An ice dam begins to form when warmed air in an attic space causes snow on the roof to melt. The water flows down the slope of the roof toward the eave where it refreezes because the eave overhangs unheated space. As the process continues, ice builds up at the eave, forming a dam. Standing water becomes trapped behind the ice dam and can leak into the home or building at fastener penetrations, usually right over an exterior wall.

Roof system designs should incorporate building materials such as underlayments that limit the formation of ice dams and help prevent leaks caused by ice dams. Underlayments protect roof systems by minimizing leaks caused by ice dams, but they do not prevent ice dams from forming. Roof assemblies designed with proper insulation and adequate ventilation will help limit the formation of ice dams by minimizing the heat transfer from the home’s or building’s interior to the air in the attic space. The combination of air sealing, insulation and ventilation is crucial.


Contact the roofing professionals at Smart Roofing, Inc. at (847) 797-0404, or email us at for your residential or commercial roofing needs before The Ice Dam Cometh.


-excerpts from NRCA Professional Roofing




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