How Insulation Can Help Prevent Ice Damage on Your Roof This Winter

Icicles on the roof of a house

With winter just around the corner, many homeowners in Ontario will be preparing their house for snow. One common concern is the buildup of ice on your roof, also known as an ice dam. Is this a problem for you? Better insulation in your home can fix this problem.

If you are experiencing ice buildups on your roof, then this should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent future damage or injury. Ice on your roof can present dangerous situations to the homeowner, visitor and those walking past your house.

Not only is it unsafe for those walking nearby, but ice also causes damage to your roof, resulting in additional repair and replacement costs that could have otherwise been avoided.

What is an ice dam and how does it work?

An ice dam is a buildup of ice that traps melting snow on your roof, stopping it from running into your eavestroughs and away from your home. As a result, snow will continue to build on your roof and icicles will form on the side of your house.

The most common cause for this trapped melting snow is heat loss from your house that escapes into the attic. Warm air passes through the ceiling and insulation into the attic space. This results in a rise in temperature in your attic to above freezing, and snow on your roof begins to melt.

Unfortunately, because of the ice dams that have formed from snowfall, the water from the melted snow flows down the roof to the colder edges where it re-freezes and forms into icicles.

What damage can an ice dam do?

As this cycle continues throughout winter, gradually huge icicles and ice dams are formed that prevent any newly melted water from being able to flow anywhere. The water then starts to creep under the shingles and finds its way into your home below.

Once this process escalates it can cause your roof and ceilings to leak, damage to your home’s interior walls and insulation, encourage the growth of mould or mildew, cause poor air quality in your home and much more.

In the most serious cases, there can be so much water entering the house that your ceiling could collapse, hardwood floors can buckle and possessions within your house can be completely ruined.

How can I stop ice dams from damaging my home?

Once the root cause of ice buildup has been addressed, you can easily prevent these potential damages from occurring. You can do this with the proper insulation and ventilation of your attic - without either ice dams will eventually occur.

For proper prevention, there should be approximately 15-20 inches of insulation in your attic and there should be ventilation in the soffits and at the top of the attic. Air is drawn in from the soffits and exhausted through the roof vents, pulling warm air with it.

Additional insulating and ventilation may be needed for some homes, while here at Georgian Insulation we also recommend that air sealing is installed in the attic floor.

Want to learn more about how you can properly protect your home against winter ice damage? Contact Georgian Insulation today.

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