Can Eavestroughs Cause Rooftop Ice Dams?

Before we get started, what is an ice dam? Well, it is the frozen ice that forms the length of the eaves of a house during the winter season. When ice dams get bigger, they impede the free flow of melting snow and rain water from the roof. The resultant water accumulation then forms a small lake at the rooftop, and thereafter starts to seep underneath the concrete, cedar, asphalt tiles.

Tackling a continuing ice dam issue is both a costly, dangerous and frustrating task. This is because rooftop ice causes water leaks and roofing damage. Accumulated ice is quite dangerous for people that find themselves unlucky enough to be standing under the roof when iceberg calves off of the main rooftop glacier and falls to the ground.

This is one of the main reasons people are always tearing off eaves-troughs in disgust. They actually do so thinking that they are the cause of the entire problem. Unfortunately, removing an eavestrough in Mississauga due to ice accumulation does not eliminate the problem as dangerous quantities of ice will still build up. The real cause of rooftop ice accumulation goes deeper and costs the homeowner more to rectify.


How do ice dams form?

Ice dams form when warm roof surfaces forces the snow at the rooftop to melt, even when outdoor temperature is to some extent below the freezing point. The source of the heat warming the roof’s surfaces comes from inside the house. However, the eaves of the roof are basically colder as they do not have a warm source of heat from underneath. As a result, when the melted warm water hits the cold eaves, it instantly freezes to form what is commonly referred to as ice ridges. The ridges continue to build up, ending up trapping and freezing water from the roof on its way down to the ground. This leads to the formation of ice dams. The trapped water above the ice dams then slowly starts to seep beneath the shingles.

What are the best ways to remove ice dams from your eaves?

• Having heated eaves

All buildings in the colder regions of the country have high-resistance electrical heating systems in form of cables are specifically made for melting ice dams along the eaves. These cables are designed to zigzag the length of the eaves. These cables are connected to a home’s electrical mains and can be either switched on or off manually or by a thermostat. These cables are quite easy to install, even easier than eave’s membrane, and do not look as conspicuous, particularly against a tile or cedar roof. The main disadvantage with this type of a roof-heating system is that it consumes a lot of electric power, leading to increased energy bills.

• Impervious eaves

One of the best ways to solve ice dam issues at your home is to fasten continuos sheet of metal, asphalt or rubber roofing material above the lowest eight or ten courses of singles the length of the eaves. To properly shed water, a water-resistant material must be tucked beneath the topmost course of the shingles, but slightly above it. Although this fix will not stop the formation of ice dams, it will stop standing melted water from finding it ways in-between courses of shingles. Unfortunately, the additional waterproof coating is hard to hide, meaning that it is not ideal where aesthetics are a consideration.

• The cold roof

While this is the definitive solution to ice dam issues, it is the hardest to accomplish. Keeping the roof’s surface cold uniformly is easier said than done. Properly insulating the attic, and at the same time increasing ventilation forms the foundation to this solution. Apart from significantly reducing your heating expenses, this also lengthens the lifespan of the shingles.