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Atlanta Roofing: Article About Ice Dam Causes

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An improperly functioning roofing and gutter system is often responsible for the creation of ice dams during winter, and this issue can cause significant and costly damage if not properly addressed. While it is possible for a homeowner or an Atlanta roofing professional to safely remove an ice dam once it has formed, it is ideal to prevent its development in the first place. The methods for preventing the conditions that cause ice dams are relatively simple, but it is also essential for homeowners to have a deep understanding of the causes and preexisting conditions that increase the likelihood of one forming.

The accumulation of snow on the roof may lead to the development of an ice dam if the roofing system is not functioning optimally. The homeowner should inspect the exterior and the interior of the roofing materials and its components in advance of the first snowfall to check for any signs of wear or degradation that could lead to an ice dam. The efficacy of the ventilation system is also vital in preventing an ice dam, as proper intake and air exhaust should keep the roof from heating to the point that it begins to melt snow on its surface. The installation of roof and soffit vents may be beneficial for attics that are not properly ventilated and therefore prone to ice dams.

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In the attic, signs of water damage or staining may indicate that the insulation has been degraded due to a leak. Degraded insulation will not only result in inefficient energy use during the winter months, but it will also cause the roofing system to heat up and melt the lowest layer of accumulated snow. When this happens, the water runs down the roof until it reaches the unheated portion of the eave. The water then freezes again, creating a dam that backs up the ice and water underneath the shingles, where it can cause additional damage.

Allowing an ice dam to develop will only exacerbate the issues that cause the dam's initial formation. As the ice and water back up underneath the shingles, the underlayment, sheathing and insulation are all exposed to water damage that reduces the entire roof's efficacy. This leads to reduced energy efficiency while also shortening the lifespan of the roof itself. Preventing an ice dam is of the utmost importance during the winter months, and it is an issue that, once present, should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent any additional and costly damage.

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