Shingle roofs are most susceptible to damage during the winter, especially for homes in northern states like Minnesota, where winter storms can be exceptionally brutal. High winds, snow, and ice all take their toll on your house, but ice typically causes the most damage. The worst thing that can happen to your roof during the winter months is the formation of ice dams.

What Ice Dams Are, and Why They’re Bad

Ice dams prevent melt-water from exiting the roof. Instead, water pools when it’s warm and creates more ice when the temperature drops. Ice dams are created by uneven heat dissipation through your home’s roof. Areas, where heat escapes the most easily, will melt snow accumulation, allowing the water to reach cooler areas where it will typically freeze. Spikes and drops in the temperature during the day create thermal expansion, damaging your shingles by pushing them apart from one another and degrading their integrity. The greater an ice dam is in mass, the greater the affected area will be, and the greater the damage to your shingle roof.

Recognizing Ice Dams

Watch for these signs of ice dams:

1) Snow melting from a hot spot will form wavy bands of snow that slide to the edges of the roof. If accumulation continues to grow, an ice dam has formed.
2) Spillover water from ice dam melt will form heavy icicles on the edge of your roof and rain gutters, creating a good deal of stress.
3) Water stains may occur, both inside and outside of your home. Stains created by water are indisputable signs of leaking and pooling.

Expensive Damage

Even the best-insulated homes may form a few icicles. But large, heavy icicles are most likely the result of ice dams and can wreak havoc on your shingles, gutters, and soffit. Significant damage can be expensive. According to HomeAdvisor, the average roof replacement can cost upwards of $6,000, while the cost of the average shingle roof repair is much lower. Both can be avoided, however, by catching ice dam formation early and taking steps to prevent it in the future.

If you’re concerned about ice dams damaging your roof, and live in the greater Twin Cities area, contact your professional roofers for a free inspection. We’re LB Solutions, are fully licensed and insured, and are also an Owens-Corning preferred contractor.

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