Winter has come early this year in the cities of Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the coming of winter also means ice dam season for many residents. Ice dams can be very damaging to roofs, as explained by Bjorn Hanson in his article for Yahoo! Voices:
“Ice dams are a big problem for home owners. They can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your real estate before you even know there is a problem. An ice dam is literally a dam that holds back water and allows it to sit on your roof for days. The water can then find any small hole in the roof and slowly drip into your real estate. This will cause damage to sheetrock and also create mold in the attic. The best way to save money and avoid these damages is to prevent the ice dams from forming in the first place. If it is already too late for that, and now you just need to know how to get rid of the ice dam you already have, then here are some solutions.”
Mr. Hanson suggests that affected homeowners call on the professionals immediately to get rid of ice dams. St. Paul or Minneapolis roofing experts, such as those in Garlock French Corporation, have the right equipment and training to do the job effectively and safely. The most common method is to remove the snow by roof rake and using an ice pick, chisel (carefully!) channels in the ice dam to allow drainage or remove the ice dam completely. Alternatively, and more costly, professionals can use pressured steam to melt away the ice without damaging the roof.
Mr. Hanson also says that homeowners may remove ice dams themselves, and recommends using such products as calcium chloride or Roof Melt to melt the ice. Homeowners might also consider using roof rakes, which are safer on roofs than axes or hatchets. However, experts warn against amateurs performing ice dam-removal tasks because of the dangers involved. A roof filled with snow and ice can be very slippery and cause serious falls, and the wrong method can further damage a roof instead of saving it.
The removal of ice dams does not mean, however, that the problem has been completely solved. Ice dams often cause water build-up on roofs and gutters by trapping melting snow. By the time the ice dams are removed, excessive water trapped on the roof may have already caused leaks and other damages. For this reason, it is very important to call on Minneapolis or St. Paul roofing professionals to inspect the roof after the removal of ice dams, and fix any damages before they could get worse and completely compromise the roof’s condition. You may want to consider installing heat cables to assist in melting snow and ice in these areas in the future. Consult your local St. Paul or Minneapolis roofing contractor to see if this is a good solution for you.
(Article excerpt and image from How to Get Rid of an Ice Dam Without Damaging Your House, Yahoo! Voices)