Preparing for Winter Weather Winter Snow Buil-up, Ice Damming and Water Infiltration Issues

 What could be nicer than being safely home on a winter’s day, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate while snow falls outside your window?  That is until you hear the drip, drip, drip more often associated with a rain  event and find that the pretty snow from outside your home has transformed into  the leaky headache inside your home.  

 Snow build-up and ice damming on rooftops are a leading cause of winter season  woes: causing water damage inside a home or building. Water infiltration not  only can damage the contents of your home but can also cause delamination of  the roof sheathing and wood rot of the building’s rafters and framing, creating a structural safety issue. It also causes attic  and wall insulation to fail, which can increase heating bills substantially.  Furthermore, wet insulation is a prime location for the development of mold  growth, which can lead to a number of health problems such as asthma,  allergies, colds and sinus conditions. With so many risks, it is important to  understand the causes and prevention methods for snow build-up and ice damming.    

 It’s Not a Snowman  

 Snow build-up occurs anywhere that snow can accumulate on a roof and remain  without sliding off, such as valleys and on flat roofs. The most common area of  concern is wherever a vertical wall exists, such as at a chimney or the  junction of a step-up from a lower roof to an upper roof. The vertical wall creates a space for snow to sit for extended periods of time  and to extend up above the step flashing installed during standard roofing  construction, which generally reaches only a few inches up the vertical wall.  If the building paper is not installed correctly, the problems are further  exaggerated. As the snow melts, the moisture can travel behind the siding,  dripping down the inner wall behind the step flashing and into the building.  The same problem occurs behind chimneys whenever the snow builds up higher than  its crickets.  

 What is an Ice Dam?

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