It’s winter time, and you want to make sure your attic is nice and cool. Wait, cool? Why cool?

Damage to your roof in the wintertime is often caused by the melting and refreezing of water into what’s called an ice dam. Ice dams are buildups of ice near the edge of your roof. When snow melt from the top of your roof and runs toward your gutters as water, it can end up getting frozen again on its way down. This buildup can continue for quite a while.

As the ice dam forms, it runs back up toward the peak of your roof, freezing all the way. It can continue 5 or even 10 feet back up your rooftop. As it builds back toward the peak, it keeps the melting snow’s runoff from reaching the gutters, creating a literal dam. When the water pools on the shingles, it seeps through cracks and wood and will start to leak into your home.

The problems with a leaky roof are the same that we see from all types of storm damage. It can lead to wood rot, mold growth, support beam damage, staining and sagging of ceilings and electrical damage among many others. During the winter though, these problems are much more insidious because you may not even know you have a problem.

Roof damage from ice dams is usually cause by a couple of factors. First, the warming of the sun during the day will usually cause some melting and prompt refreezing, quickly causing water to pool. Second, and more problematic, is because of the warmth in your attic! Since hot air rises, during the wintertime your home’s heating will actually rise to the attic and cause the snow and ice at the topmost points on the outside to melt. Then, it runs down to the cool parts of the roof, refreezes and creates a dam.

To protect your roof from this kind of damage, use strong insulation to keep your attic separate from the rest of your home. Seal up any access points for air from your home to enter the attic using caulk, tape or other means. Finally, consider getting ventilation installed in your rooftop to allow the hot air to escape – call a pro like G & G if you’re interested in having this done.

There are a couple of other solutions to stopping ice daming outlined in this excellent article that covers the topic in depth. If you’ve already noticed leaking, get in contact with G & G for an assessment of the situation and to get it repaired.