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  • Cedar Roof Coatings

Ice and Snow Buildup on Cedar Roofs

Along with all the joy winter brings, it also ushers in freezing temperatures, ice and snow. Heavy snowfall during winter storms commonly piles on roofs. While cedar roofs are more resistant to weather damage than many other roof materials, it is still susceptible to ice and snow buildup. This buildup can lead to ice dams, which pose a serious threat to your home.

What Is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam acts as a barrier of ice along the edge of your roof. It prevents melting snow from draining, causing it to pile up in other places. The heavy snow will eventually work its way under shingles and seep into the attic. Ice dams can lead to:

  • Broken gutters

  • Roof leaks

  • Loose shingles

  • Attic condensation

  • Water in your insulation

  • Stains on ceilings and walls

  • Peeling paint

  • Warped floors

  • Sagging or collapsed ceilings

  • Mold and mildew

  • Attic framing rot

What Causes an Ice Dam?

An ice dam forms when snow from the upper section of your roof begins melting and travels down a slope, only to refreeze along the edge, preventing other snow from draining. Heat escaping from a house, the amount of snow and outside temperatures cause ice dams to form:

  • Heat escaping from a house: Most ice dams form when heat escapes from your home through the ceilings and warms the attic. The heated attic then warms the shingles and roof above it. The roof's outside temperature then rises above freezing levels in some spots, while other parts of the roof stay at frozen temperatures.

  • Amount of snow: Ice dams usually start or worsen after heavy snowfall creates a thick layer of snow on your roof.

  • Outside temperatures: Outdoor temperatures can fluctuate drastically during winter and cause ice dams. If snow melts in the afternoon over several days only to refreeze at night, an ice dam will form.

  • Clogged gutters: If your gutters are full of debris, they will block the flow of melting snow and create a dam of backup on the roof.

How to Protect Your Cedar Roof From Ice Dams

When preparing for winter, there are some things you can do to prevent ice dams on cedar roofs. Though naturally durable and long-lasting, even cedar shingles could use some help against icicles and dam buildup.

While you can't prevent ice dams caused by fluctuating temperatures, you can prevent the damage they inflict. You can prevent ice dams and the damage they cause with:

  • Roof inspections: Regular roof inspections help identify problems early on. The key to avoiding serious problems in the future is awareness and prevention. When a Cedar Roof Coatings professional inspects your roof, they will spot any areas of concern you can't see from the ground. They will walk along the roof's surface and take pictures of anything out of the ordinary. If there are any split shingles or lifted materials, they will find them.

  • Preservation coating: Cedar is strong and naturally weather-resistant, but certain coatings can help. Over time, moss, mold, mildew, fungus and debris cover roofs. Ask your Cedar Roof Coatings representative about applying a preservation coating during your next inspection. The preservation coating protects and enhances the integrity of new and old wood, repels water, stops UV damage, prevents wood rot and eliminates mold and mildew. Other cedar treatments include water-repellent preservatives (WRPs).

  • Clean gutters: Gutters hold leaves, dirt, acorns, tree branches, pinecones and other debris, which can block the gutters and prevent them from properly eliminating melting snow. When you hire a Cedar Roof Coatings professional to inspect your roof, they will also look at your gutters to see if they need cleaning.

  • Attic ventilation: If your roof is prone to ice or snow accumulation, installing an air ventilation system in your attic will decrease the amount of snow and ice that builds up on your roof by promoting air circulation.

Signs of an Ice Dam

As you walk around your house and inspect your roof from the ground, it is essential to know what might indicate a problem. There are a few signs that an ice dam has formed, including:

  • Hot spots: Hot spots are areas of your roof that are hotter than the rest. After it snows, walk outside and look up at your roof. If the snow has melted in some areas, but not everywhere, the place where the snow melted is a hot spot, meaning your roof is at risk for ice dams.

  • Large icicles: While small icicles or icicles on the underside of your roof and gutters aren't likely from an ice dam, large icicles hanging from shingles or gutter edges may have formed because of an ice dam. Icicles that look like waves spilling over the edge of your roof also indicate a potential ice dam.

  • Leaks: If you notice any water damage inside your home, there is a problem with your roof. If snow buildup is also on your roof, you might have an ice dam. Ice dams cause water damage once the melted snow works its way under the shingles.

What to Do if You Have an Ice Dam on Your Cedar Roof

You may wonder if you should remove snow from your roof, but this should never be attempted without a professional. Ice and snow make your roof hazardous and slippery and can result in serious injuries. If you have an ice dam, you need to hire a professional for cedar roof ice dam removal. Cedar Roof Coatings professionals will inspect your roof, repair any damage and prevent future repairs and costs associated with a leaking cedar roof.

When repairing your roof, they might fix or replace:

  • Ridge caps: Ridge caps are shingles installed along the roof's ridge. They protect your home from water and snow.

  • Shingles and shakes: They will replace any rotting or cracked shingles and shakes.

  • Vents, valleys and flashings: Cedar Roof Coatings professionals will replace any damaged vents, valleys and flashings. Vents let air flow into your attic, while valleys are where two roof slopes meet, and water collects to drain. Flashings seal openings and cracks.

Contact Cedar Roof Coatings for Inspections and Repairs

Cedar Roof Coatings serves Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Westchester County, New York, and has for over 35 years. We offer cedar roof inspection, repair, preservation and coating services. If you have a large amount of snow on your cedar roof and have noticed signs of an ice dam, contact Cedar Roof Coatings today or learn more about our inspections and the repair services we offer. The quality of our work is unmatched by competitors, and we will have your roof looking and functioning as good as new when we are finished.

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Nov 15, 2022

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