Will New Roofing Help With Ice Dams and Water in the Attic?


One of the most common sights in winter is the long icicles forming on roofs across your neighborhood. Although kids are fascinated by these formations, many people know that they signify the danger of ice dams and should be a cause for concern. Water in the attic is another typical occurrence during the winter months and homeowners wonder whether new roofing will fix both problems. They also wonder whether that new roof can be installed in the winter and whether turning a blind eye will result in major and costly damage.

The Reality About Ice Dams

Ice dams are not generally caused by aged or deteriorated roofing. The main culprit of ice dams is a poorly or improperly insulated attic. Also, houses with large or extended overhangs can experience major ice dams. And homeowners should take note that although roofing is not the cause of ice dams, this dangerous frozen condition can actually cause serious damage to your roofing if left alone.

Ice dams are caused when a large build up of snow and ice is found at the edge of the roof. As the fallen snow higher up the slope melts and runs down it will collect and freeze at the ice dam due to a drop in temperature. Very well insulated attics will not result in ice dams, since the heat of your home does not escape enough to melt the snow quickly. And un-insulated attics should not cause ice dams either, since the temperature is even across the roof and most of the snow and ice is able to melt (or remain frozen) steadily.

The problem occurs when the ice dams build up and the ice and snow begins to back up - right under the existing shingles. In extreme cases, where temperatures fluctuate or the snow comes in steady waves, that back up can end up in your attic after having come through the shingles. This leaves you with a serious mess inside and a roofing repair project come spring time.

Adding insulation into the attic is the best cure for ice dams, although you should first get the advice of a professional to assess your home and space.

What Does Water in the Attic Mean?

Leaky roofs can leave nasty damage at any time of year, but very often that evidence shows up in the winter time. As the snow falls and lays on the roof it has more chance to seep in through old, weakened shingles. Mainly because it is not running down the roof and to the eaves as quickly as it does during the rest of the year, precipitation in winter is the enemy of a deteriorated roof.

The bad news is that you can do little about it until spring time. In northern climates the conditions on your rooftop are not safe until the risk of frost has past. At that point you can call the roofer and have them come to inspect the damage and recommend a plan of action. Maybe you only need to repair certain spots or possibly it's time for a full scale roof replacement. Either way the assessment of a professional will need to wait for warmer weather.

Try to keep the attic as dry as possible and clear any snow accumulation off of your roof as soon as you can. Just be careful up there.

Commonly seen on many different homes ice dams are not caused by degraded roofing, but can certainly cause backups and conditions that result in damaged shingles. If you find water in the attic you likely have some damage already and will need to call a roofer first thing in the spring to have a thorough inspection done. When all risk of frost has passed the repairs or roofing replacement can commence and your home will be snug and cozy again.

Posted by: TrustedPros
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area. Read real customer reviews, browse photos and compare credentials.

Find your home service pro
comments powered by Disqus

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.


Get quotes from top-rated contractors