Ice dams are a common problem in areas that receive a lot of snowfall, and they can cause serious damage to shingle roofs. They're caused by melted snow freezing into a block of ice at the edge of your roof. Snow on your roof will start to melt if the attic underneath is warm, and it will flow down your roof as it melts. The edge of your roof isn't warmed by the attic, so the melted snow will freeze again once it reaches the edge. As the melted snow freezes, it will build up and create an ice dam on the edge of your roof.
Ice dams trap melted snow behind them, and the standing water will cause your asphalt shingles to break down. Removing the ice dams on your roof with a hammer or chisel will cause further damage to your roof since the ice is stuck to the shingles. The best solution to stop your roof from being damaged by the trapped water is to prevent ice dams from ever forming on your roof.
One method of preventing ice dams from forming is to improve the ventilation in your attic and insulate its ceiling. This will stop your attic from heating up as much, and the improved insulation will help stop the snow on your roof from melting and creating ice dams. Unfortunately, this can be an expensive undertaking. A quicker and less expensive method to prevent ice dam formation is to have an ice belt installed on your roof. To learn more about ice belts and how they can stop your roof from being damaged by ice dams, read on.
What Is an Ice Belt?
An ice belt is made from metal panels that are installed on the edge of your roof. Ice belts are typically made from aluminum or galvanized steel, which stops them from rusting when they're exposed to rain or melted snow. They're attached to your roof deck over your existing roofing shingles, and the metal panels completely cover the shingles on the edge of your roof.
How Does an Ice Belt Stop Your Roof From Being Damaged by Ice Dams?
Metal panels help prevent ice dams from forming because they can shed melted snow quickly. Asphalt shingles have a textured surface made of asphalt granules, so melted snow flows over them very slowly. This gives the melted snow more time to freeze and turn into ice, forming an ice dam. When your roof edge is covered in metal panels, the melted snow falls off of your roof before it has the chance to freeze.
Even if an ice dam does form on your roof, the ice belt will protect your shingles from being damaged. The metal panels act like a barrier that prevents standing water from coming into contact with your shingles, which prevents them from being damaged by melted snow.
An ice belt is an inexpensive way to help prevent your roof from being damaged by ice dams, and installing an ice belt is much quicker than undertaking an entire attic renovation process to improve its ventilation and ceiling insulation. If ice dams are forming on your roof and you're looking for a quick way to stop them from causing damage to your shingles, call a roofing contractor in your area and ask about having an ice belt installed to protect your roof.