In anticipation of the severe winter storm that will hit the East Coast, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) is encouraging homeowners and business owners to check their rooftops for heavy snow and ice dams that can cause major damage to a structure’s roof and gutters.
Ice dams are a problem with significant snow accumulations during extended periods of below-freezing temperatures. They form when roof areas become warm enough to melt snow, typically because of the combination of the insulating effect of heavy snow accumulation and heat loss from a home’s interior.
Melted snow runs down the roof under the snow cover and refreezes along overhangs where the roof surface temperature is lower. The water from the melting snow becomes trapped behind the dam of ice and can back up under shingles and infiltrate the underlayment, leading to leaks in the structure.
If ice damming presents an urgent problem and demands immediate action, it is advisable to remove the snow accumulated on the roof to prevent additional water backups. However, snow removal from a rooftop should be attempted only if it can be done safely from the ground level with a roof rake or an extended-handle broom. NRCA does not recommend using ice picks, shovels or any tool with sharp edges that may damage roof coverings.
NRCA strongly recommends contacting an NRCA member if the snow or ice cannot be safely removed from ground level.
For additional information about winter weather roof maintenance and to find a local NRCA member roofing contractor, visit NRCA’s Everybody Needs a Roof website.