A major challenge that often faces residents of Ottawa is snow building up on their roofs, and of ice-dams developing. Without a substantial structural support, this excess weight can cause significant damage to roofs, downspouts, and eavestroughs. If not cleared, then a build-up of snow can also block air ventilation causing further problems inside the property.
When the temperature fluctuates during the day and night, this can cause melting snow to refreeze and develop into ice-dams. These ice-dams stop the next day’s melting snow from flowing from the roof, and the water then tends to force its way under the shingles and into the interior of the property. By preventing the snow from building up, these ice dams can no longer form and cause damage to your property.
You should never walk on a roof that is covered with snow. If you intend to check on your roof, then follow all procedural safety instructions when using ladders. Clearing snow from roofs is a specialist job that requires special tools. If the work is not done right, it can cause further damage to your roof and property.
Removal of Ice Dams
If there’s one thing that homeowners are used to in Ottawa, it’s snow. Snow causes all sorts of problems, but in particular, it creates stresses and strains on a roof. During winter, a common type of phone call we receive at Firon Roofing, is to clear snow or remove ice dams.
At first glance, it looks like the main culprit for ice dams is the eavestroughs. However, this is not the case; it is just where ice dams are the most visible on roofs.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams are caused by fast changes in temperature. During the day, the temperature in attics or rooms under the roof tend to heat up, and that along with the heat of the sun causes the snow on the roof to melt. During the night, as the temperature drops below zero, the melting water will refreeze on the lower level of the roof around the eavestroughs and downspouts making the beginning of an ice dam. As this process continues day after day, more and more water builds up behind an ever-increasing blockage of ice, which then freezes each night building up the ice dam even further.
What Damage do Ice Dams Cause?
With the eavestroughs and downspouts blocked up with ice, the water has nowhere to go and starts to back up further up the roof. Water will creep under shingles and fascia boards and eventually begin to leak into your home itself. This is why ceilings can sometimes collapse because the weight of the water that has leaked into them has become too much. Obviously, a collapsed ceiling is at the worst end of the scale when it comes to the damage that ice dams can cause, but any water leakage into your home will cause some damage that will eventually need to be addressed.