6 Ice Dam Myths Debunked

Now that the first snow has fallen at the Lake of the Ozarks and the temperatures seem to be staying quite cold, homeowners need to be aware of the possibility of ice dam formation. There are many ice dam myths out there that too many people fall prey to. Our Lake of the Ozarks roofing company is here to give you the truth behind many of these common ice dam myths:

Myth #1

Solar radiation and its resulting heat have little effect on the formation of ice dams; home interior heat loss through the attic is mainly to blame.

The Truth: The heat from the sun, which causes roof-top snow melt, has a huge impact on ice dams forming. While you can take measures to prevent heat loss from your home, there is nothing you can do to shield your roof from the suns rays.

Myth #2

Adding more insulation to the attic or ventilating the area better will prevent ice dam formation.

The Truth: While adding insulation can help lessen the problem, it cannot prevent ice dams completely. In fact, having too much insulation can be just as bad as not having enough. Insulation is not designed to prevent ice dams, it's designed to manage the energy efficiency of the home. Improving an attic's ventilation system will indeed make the temperature differential between the interior and exterior less disparate. However, that cold air can only slow the melting on your rooftop, not eradicate it altogether.

Myth #3 

Replacing existing shingles or installing more ice and water shield membranes on an existing roof will eliminate leakage from ice dams.

The Truth: Water shield membranes and similar products are not intended to prevent damage from conditions of standing water on the roof. They're actually designed to prevent problems with condensation under the shingles in the summer. Even if you have a brand new roof, you can still have issues with ice dams.

Myth #4

Zig-zag heat cable on the roof or gutters prevent ice dams from forming.

The Truth: While the cables create a tiny pathway for the water to pass through, they can easily be overwhelmed by large amounts of snow. They are really only useful in areas that get very minimal snow fall. The heat cables are great for keeping gutters clear, but ice dams can still form above and below the melted areas surrounding the zig-zag cable.

Myth #5

You can eliminate ice dams by shoveling snow off the roof's eave edges.

The Truth: Just removing the snow from the edges of the roof isn't going to prevent ice dams. As long as there is any snow on the roof, water can re-freeze at the snow line and form ice dams. Shoveling is just a temporary fix. While you should remove excess amounts of snow to prevent other damage such as a roof collapse, it isn't going to solve all your ice dam problems.

Myth #6 

Metal edging prevents ice dams from forming.

The Truth: While many homeowners have installed metal edging along roof eaves to prevent ice dams, they often cause other issues. Property damage and leaks can occur when ice dams break off the roof and a new ice dam forms at or above the wall line. This not only promotes leaks, but can damage the transition between composite shingles and the metal edging.

For more information on ice dam formation and prevention, check out our previous blog titled, "Winter Roof Problems: Ice Dams." If your roof has experienced any damage due to ice dams, give Above & Beyond Roofing a call to come take a look. We offer free roof inspections at the Lake of the Ozarks, as well as free estimates on the work that needs to be done.

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