Ice Dams

What You Need to Know About “Ice Dams.”

Philadelphia’s weather can get cold and wet during the winter months. Snow and ice on your roof can pose several problems. But the most dangerous is the formation of “ice dams.”

An ice dam forms when your roof deck warms and the snow covering your roof melts from the bottom up. The melted snow runs down to the edge of your roof where it is once again exposed to frigid air and refreezes, either on the roof edge or in a clogged gutter. This forms the ice dam.

Now the additional snowmelt that runs down your roof has no place to go except to be forced back up and under your roof shingles and into your home. Once water gets into your home it can travel anywhere – along the rafters, across ceilings, down walls and even into the basement. The damage can be significant and expensive, including rotted wood, mold, mildew, stains and cracked foundations.
The problem that causes ice dams is not actually the roof, but the attic. If your attic is too warm it heats up the roof deck and causes the snow to melt. The secret to preventing this is to lower the temperature in your attic to match that of the roof.

There are two ways to do this, and we recommend using both of them. The first is to install a balanced ventilation system that provides intake air and exhaust. This provides a path for cool, dry air to enter the attic (usually near the floor of the attic) and the warm, moist air to exit near the peak.

The second step is to install adequate insulation on the floor of your attic. Standard insulation should not be directly attached to the underside of the roof deck. The proper amount of insulation will keep warm air from your home from rising up into the attic and heating the roof deck, thus causing snow on the roof to melt.

The time to take these steps is before the snow falls. Ice dams can form without you even knowing it and may not become obvious until the damage is done.

That snow on your roof should stay up there a long time and melt very slowly because, with proper ventilation and insulation, your roof deck is now cold.

Ice Dams Russell Roofing and exteriors

Client Testimonials

“Because I will be installing solar on my roof, I needed a complete tear-off of the existing 4 layers and a new roof with a long life that would require little maintenance. I needed a reputable firm. Russell was outstanding. The project manager Travis was right on time; he was very knowledgeable, always responsive, and helped me decide between materials. The price seemed reasonable. A full crew, trucks, materials showed up right on-time. Marc, the crew leader, had years of experience, and the team seemed to do a great job. (I haven't been up on the top roof, but watched some of the install of a lower roof).”

Jenny Fair

“After consulting with many roofing companies about a bad leak that was destroying one of my bedrooms, Vince at Russell Roofing helped me to get a new roof quickly. He took time to explain everything about the material that would be used and all steps of the job. Mark, the foreman of the Russell roofing crew at my house was great. The cleanup was top notch. Actually my yard looked better after they were done! I recommend this company highly.”

Deborah Haas

“I had Russell Roofing replace a leaking skylight together with the section of roof the skylight was located on. At the same time they replaced my garage roof. I worked with their estimator Mike Stefani who was great to deal with and kept me up to date as to when the job was going to start.
I'm totally satisfied with the crew that did the work... They worked hard, did a great job and was impressed with how thorough they cleaned up everyday.”

Bob Cross

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