Everything You Need To Know About Ice Dams

Not every area of the Carolinas experiences winter weather. The Charleston, South Carolina region, for example, tends to have temperate weather all year long. However, many parts of North Carolina are subject to ice and snow every year, which can lead to specific issues for homeowners. 

Ice dams are one issue that can wreak havoc if they are not properly handled. However, many homeowners don’t fully understand what ice dams are or what they can do. That’s where this guide comes in. As you continue reading, you will discover everything you need to know about ice dams and the issues they can cause. 

What are ice dams?

First and foremost, it is important for you to understand what ice dams actually are. These are large ice chunks that form at the edge of a roofline. They are not unusual and frequently occur when ice, sleet, or snow falls. 

However, they do indicate that a home’s gutter system might not be functioning properly because they signal that precipitation has nowhere to drain. And, if an ice dam is simply allowed to melt on its own time, though, both the weight and the water can result in major problems. Let’s dive in. 

What sorts of damage can ice dams do?

As noted, ice dams can cause a wide range of problems for Carolina homeowners. Here, we look at some of the most common issues. 

Wood rot – Because ice dams are a red flag that icy precipitation doesn’t have a proper place to drain off of a roof, wood rot is a major concern. Moisture is one of the top causes of rotten wood, so if melting ice dams ultimately seep into an attic, or even into the walls of a home, they can result in massive structural damage to studs and other load-bearing pieces of wood. 

Roof damage – Ice dams, or any ice buildup on a roof, can severely damage asphalt shingles. Over time, shingles can crack, peel, or even fall off completely when ice freezes, melts, and re-freezes. The more damage your shingles sustain, the more likely it is that you will face interior water damage as well. When your roof isn’t doing its job, your entire home becomes susceptible. 

Mold infestation – Where there is moisture, there can be mold growth. If ice dams ultimately melt into an attic space, for instance, a mold infestation could occur inside of your house. This could be particularly devastating if there are soft furnishings stored in your home’s attic. In addition to ruining belongings, mold can cause health problems for people in your household, so the potential for mold growth is not something to take lightly. 

What can be done to prevent ice dams?

While ice dams are not always preventable, it is smart to schedule a gutter inspection if you’ve noticed more of them than you have in the past. If, however, it is determined that there is nothing wrong with your gutters, the best way to deal with ice dams is to take preventative measures. 

Metal roofing, for instance, will not be damaged like shingles will. 

If you are interested in scheduling a gutter inspection or in learning more about how to deal with ice dams, contact the Hatch Homes team at your earliest convenience. We are here to make sure your family’s home is in the best possible condition for every winter to come. 


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