The ice dam cometh

Proper installation of underlayment can reduce damage from ice dams

With the recent uptick in severe weather, it is important to know how to keep homes protected. Extreme weather is the new normal, so "building as usual" no longer is an option. Homeowners want to know their homes are constructed to withstand wind-driven rain, snow, ice and everything else Mother Nature brings.

When installing or repairing a roof system, it is critical to make sure it is waterproofed properly to prevent future damage and costly repairs. This includes taking steps to prevent and mitigate damage caused by ice dams. 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 customers' homes from the damaging effects of ice dams.

How ice dams form

An ice dam begins to form when warmed air in an attic space, or solar radiation, 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.