Ice Dams: Causes, Dangers and Preventions

With cold temperatures and possible snowfall in the area this upcoming week, we can all agree that we are officially in the winter season. Preparing your home for the winter is essential in preventing any major damage. Preparations such as checking your windows and doors for leaks and gaps, cleaning out or replacing old gutters, checking for damage on your roof and taking proper precautions to prevent an ice dam development are all important. Ice dams could lead to substantial damage to your roof, gutters and the overall integrity of your home. We share multiple tasks you could complete to avoid an ice dam from happening

What is an ice dam?

An accumulation of frozen water in the gutter system and at the roof edge that prevents subsequent drainage of melting snow from leaving the roof/gutter system.

What causes an ice dam?

Ice dams are caused due to lack of ventilation in your attic. When the heat is on inside your house and rises it leaks the hot air up through the roof. This in turn creates warm areas on the roof, which causes the snow in that area to thaw. Once the snow is fully melting, it glides down the roof’s slope until it reaches the frozen overhang on the edge where it refreezes and is consistently built up to a dam structure.

What is the danger of an ice dam?

This build up of snow and ice can be very dangerous to the integrity of your home exterior. It could tear off your gutters, loosen shingles, and eventually could lead force water to back up underneath the shingles which may cause a leak through your ceiling and into your home. It’s possible that ice dams could also cause decaying, corrosion and mold to form in your attic and on the wall surfaces.

 

As you can see, ice dams could be very dangerous to the structure of your home and could eventually become pretty costly to repair. So how do you prevent this from happening?

Ice Dam PreventionGutter Maintenance Clogged or older gutters do not cause ice dams to happen, but they tend to make the issue much worse. Cleaning out or replacing older gutters could easily save you the headache of an ice dam because it will prevent the initial foundation of ice to form along the edge of your roof.

Proper Insulation The best way to stop ice dams from forming in the first place is to make sure your attic is insulated well. This keeps the heat inside where it belongs.

Ventilation A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents circulates cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and provide at least 1 square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.

Cap the Hatch An unsealed attic hatch or whole-house fan is a massive opening for heat to escape. Cover them with weatherstripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together with aluminum tape.

Exhaust Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls, but never through the soffit.Sealed Can Lights If you have recessed lights, replace them with sealed can lights to minimize referred heat to the roof.Seal and Insulate Ducts Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. Cover them entirely with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.

 

How MLM can help?

MLM Home Improvement has been using the Owens Corning brand for over twelve years and we are one of only six certified Platinum Preferred Contractors in the area.We are proud to carry Owens Corning products because we know that an Owens Corning roofing system is crucial in preventing damage such as ice dams. Their new WeatherLock Flex Flexible Self-Sealing Ice and Water Barrier is meant to do just that!
Owens Corning WeatherLock® Flex Flexible Self-Sealing Ice & Water Barrier provides excellent roof deck protection against water infiltration resulting from the freeze/thaw cycle, wind-driven rains and normal water flow around eaves, rakes, valleys, vents, chimneys and skylights.

Engineered for asphalt shingles, wood shakes and quarry slate roof assemblies, WeatherLock® Flex also offers:

  • High performance – Flexible and pliable poly surface and modified asphalt combine to adhere around irregular shapes, inside corners and at sharp angles, even in cold-weather applications to 40ºF
  • Added protection – Acts as a waterproof barrier in the most vulnerable sections of the roof, such as valleys and other roof penetrations, to create a second line of defense. For optimal protection, apply to entire roof deck on 2:12 to 4:12 pitch roofs*
  • Aggressive self-adhesive – Exceeds adhesion performance requirements to help prevent water migration
  • Slip-resistant surface – For excellent traction and safe installation
  • Seals tight around nails – Modified asphalt construction for a tight seal around nails to prevent water penetration
If you are interested in Owens Corning roofing systems or have any questions, let us help. Give us a call or send a message today!

Spring is ready, are your gutters? Ask yourself these 3 questions!

The severe winter weather we experienced just a month ago could have intensely affected your gutter system. Leaves, broken branches and other debris will block your gutters from doing their main job- keeping rain out of your house. Gutters are so easy to overlook, making them the most neglected and costly repair a homeowner can face.
Why wait until a major rain storm? Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to make sure your gutters are ready to withstand spring showers and to avoid and prevent larger (and costly) issues!
1. Is there any visible damage on your gutters?
To answer this question, check out your gutters on a sunny and dry day. Are there holes in your gutters that are causing leaks? Are there gaps from one gutter to the other? Are your gutters starting to separate away from your home? Are there rust spots? If you answered yes to any of these you may want to call a professional to inspect them. These are clear warning signs your gutters are starting to become ineffective. We encourage a free inspection to see if your gutters simply need a repair or if you need a new system.
2. Are your gutters clear of debris, leaves and other undesirable growth?
Spring is definitely the time to make sure your gutters are clear of any unwanted debris! Gutter maintenance only needs to be done about twice a year for it to be effective so we suggest you complete these bi-yearly cleanings or hire a professional to do this service for you. It will definitely save you money down the road!
3. Are there dirt channels or pooling water underneath?
If there is an overflow of water underneath your gutters, this is a tell tale sign you will need to replace your gutter system. Gutters that are not able to properly do their job of keeping water from your home have no purpose anymore! Call us to come out and inspect your home. We will give you a free estimate, and can ensure you an easy and efficient replacement!
Call us at 1-800-MLM-ROOF or fill out a form on our landing page- we would be happy to serve you!

Gutter Guards: What are they? Do you need them?

Clogged gutters can be very harmful to your home’s exterior. Gutters that are clogged or not working properly can lead to damage to your roof, soffits and fascia, and mold and erosion around the foundation. We understand that cleaning debris out of your gutters isn’t a desirable way to spend a day off, which is why we offer gutter guards. The installation of gutter guards completely eliminates most of the maintenance required for long lasting gutters.
What are gutter guards?
A gutter guard is a piece of hardware you install to cover your gutters. Gutter guards allow water to enter and keep debris out.
Benefits
Spend less time on maintenance With standard gutters, cleaning them is highly recommended at least twice a year. If they become clogged, a myriad of problems will follow. With gutter guards, your gutters and downspouts are protected from debris, so you spend less time and money cleaning them.
Prevent Hazards It is not uncommon for animals to form nests and set up shop or debris to become a fire hazard. All of these natural things that happen out of your control severely affect the integrity of your home. Gutter guards allow these worries to disappear because of the protection they guarantee.
The effectiveness of your gutters are not typically on the forefront of our minds. However, a failing gutter system can lead to some unfortunate damage. With the installation of gutter guards, they can stay on the back of your mind and you can be confident everything is working properly.

We install RainPro gutters and gutter guards that offer the perfect mix of style and durable, low-maintenance functionality.

  • Large Capacity House Gutters
  • Low Profile Styles
  • Several Color Choices
  • Heavy Gauge Metal for Impressive Durability
  • Custom Fabricated Gutters for a Perfect Fit
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Give us a call at 844-MLM-ROOF to schedule an appointment.

How To: Clean Your Gutters

Gutters are an integral part of your exterior home because they protect it from hazardous water damage- your roofing, siding, windows, landscaping, and foundation would all be ruined without proper rain gutter installation! If you’ve read our latest blogs, we continuously state the importance of cleaning out your gutters twice a year. Neglecting this chore unfortunately can lead to extreme damage, as they may be clogged, overflowing, filled with debris etc. So- how do you properly clean your gutters? If you’ve never done it before, it may be intimidating. Here is a step by step guide!
Step 1: The Ladder
The first thing you need to do is properly secure your ladder so you can be eye level with the gutters. We recommend securing the ladder to the house to make sure nothing goes awry. Take proper safety precautions while doing this step- and if you’re unable to get up on the ladder, we recommend hiring a gutter cleaning service.
Step 2: Gloves
After you have secured your ladder and eye level to the gutters, put your gloves on. From the ground you have no idea what you might find in your gutters, branches, debris, even kids toys, so having gloves on will allow you to pick up any unwanted items out of the gutters.
Step 3: The Hose
Once you’ve gotten rid of obvious debris, you’ll want to bring your hose up and flush out your gutters. It’s important that the pressure of your water isn’t to intense and that you’re angling your hose correctly. A harsh water stream straight on your gutters could cause damage. Flushing out your gutters with a hose will get rid of any hard to reach debris. *Tip: do not use a shop vac or leaf blower. These tools will cause more mess than anything!
Step 4: Inspection
Now that your gutters are nice and cleaned out, it’ll be easier to detect obvious damage. If you see any leaks, rust, peeling paint, sagging gutters, or even cracks or broken downspouts, it’s time to call in the pros. Your gutters will need repair or even replacement.
Step 5: Damage?
After your own personal inspection, if you find any areas of concern- call MLM! We will come do a free inspection and let you know if these concerns require a replacement. 1-844-MLM-ROOF
Every gallon of rainwater weight roughly eight pounds. If your gutters are clogged and overflowing, they could potentially be holding thousands of pounds of debris and water. This is extremely dangerous as they can cause water damage, completely pull away from your roof, or even result in a roof collapse. Follow this gutter cleaning guide at least twice a year to prevent these dangerous situations.