Pittsburgh Roof Ice Dams Finally Explained

Let me guess, you noticed a brown stain on your ceiling in the dead of winter when your children were throwing football around the living room on Super Bowl Sunday when they broke your precious leg lamp replica from the movie Christmas Story. You automatically assume your roof has sprung a leak and begin to panic. Without hesitation you decided to jump online and call your most trusted local Pittsburgh roofing company at Peak Precision Contracting. Take a few minutes to read Pittsburgh Roof Ice Dams finally Explained!

Upon my arrival to your home as I drove cautiously spinning my wheels effortlessly to make it to the top of the driveway through a vast covered blanket of snow I looked up at the roof line to discover an army of icicles standing their battlegrounds hanging on to the gutters for fear of defeat if they fall. The roof beyond the eaves was melting the snow at a pace resembling a wax candle to a flame. That slow burn to the beautiful white snow began to melt until it met the cold, frozen eaves once again to fuel the ice army’s regime. The ice army grew stronger and larger in size as it began its path into the underside of the shingles finding the roads less traveled meeting at rusted, raised, pierced nail fasteners, nonexistent
ice and water barrier, and gaps within the roof sheathing. The ice army was met with a surge of heat and turned into fluid water droplets as it infiltrated the roof bypassing levels of defense mechanisms such as synthetic felt paper, roof sheathing, insulation, and drywall until it met Peak Precision Contracting!

Hello, my name is Devin Orsi the Owner to Peak Precision Contracting located in Canonsburg Pennsylvania. I have based my business model on an extremely simplistic platform.

1. Customer Service-Always making sure you are satisfied and maintaining an open line of communication.

2. Superior Craftsmanship-Making certain to only employ true, qualified, superior installers and roof specialist with checks and balances in place for no margin of error adhering to all manufacturer guidelines.

3. Quality Materials-We only utilize the best quality materials and roof components that have been tested over time for decades.

4. Lasting Relationships-We want you to remember us as we remember you. We do not want our relationship to end here once we are finished with your project and want to provide you with continued services for generations to come.

As a business Owner in the construction field there is a huge misconception on what it takes for a company to be successful. Any company can hire a smooth talking, well dressed, dapper, salesman to take on the lead to spread the word of a company’s mission and branding powers, but can they actually use that same information and apply it in the field, are they the same individual that’s going to replace your roof? At Peak Precision Contracting we are not just a sales pitch but rather true experts and artisans in the field. Realistically anyone can essentially learn vast amounts of knowledge about a trade if they wish and recite it as if it were memorized pages in a book if they work hard enough at it. But let’s face it, not everyone can perform the task they may speak so much knowledge of.

Our ultimate goal as a Pittsburgh roofing contractor is to treat water as our enemy and let me tell you that water will find the path of least resistance. We must think like water in order to prevent roof leaks from ever happening. It not about just installing a roof and moving on to the next one its about never having to come back leaving you with the peace of mind knowing your roof system is watertight for decades. Enough story telling let’s talk about ice dams.

What Is An Ice Dam In Simple Terms?

Here are the facts: An ice dam is a mass of ice that manifest itself along the lower edge of rooflines, known as the eaves; they occur in climates with cold winter temperatures and regular snowfall. Severe ice dams can weigh many hundreds of pounds, compromising the structure of the roof eaves, gutters, and fascia boards. Specifically, ice dams can cause meltwater to back up under the shingles, where it can flow down and ruin ceiling and wall surfaces. If ignored, ice dams can cause serious damage to your
homes roof, gutters, paint, insulation and interior drywall and other surfaces.

On some houses, ice dams are a pervasive and damaging winter roofing problem, but other houses may have no trouble at all. There is no mystery as to why some houses are plagued with ice dam’s while others are immune: the answers can be found in the attic where there is an imbalance temperature variation.

Pittsburgh Ice Dam Solutions

How Do You Prevent Pittsburgh Ice Dams From Forming?

Adequate Insulation—Hire a professional Pittsburgh roofer to address your concerns. You want the attic as cold as possible. Boost your attic insulation and think like warm air does and stop its penetrations paths. A thick layer of insulation will keep the warm air in the living spaces of your home not trapped in the attic. If the attic is partially heated, provide soffit vents and a ridge vent. Install polystyrene tunnels above the insulation, just under the roof to carry air from the soffits to the ridge vent. Insulate the attic floor or add insulation if it is already installed. Make sure, there is no insulation in the overhang that could block soffit vents and cause other problems. Keep in mind a roof needs to breath as we do, and it must have circulation of air flow to and from the roof system. Ensure that soffits are vented and that vents are not blocked at the gable ends. If these vents are inadequate, ice dams and leaks are almost certain. Keep the attic entrance closed. Most homes have a dropdown staircase leading to their attics, but somehave a built-in staircase with a door access. No matter how your home is set up, make sure the attic access stays closed as much as possible and no gaps are present to allow warm air into the attic space.

Snow removal—This can be an extremely dangerous task for a homeowner that do not know the dynamics of snow loads on a roof and we certainly do not recommend it, so I would leave it up to the roof professionals. Remove snow from the roof as much as possible without ruining the shingles. Not all the snow has to be removed, but the more the better this is only if you are unable to immediately tackle the real issue causing the ice dams. A roof rake that will remove snow from the edge of the roof prevents ice build-up if used on a regular basis, while protecting eaves. Have damaged gutters repaired, pitched properly, or replaced. Your gutters may contribute to the formation of ice dams if water is unable to effectively flow off your roof. Get these issued resolved as quickly as possible to prevent long term damage.

Roofing—A probable long-term cure for leaks from ice dams, though not for the ice dams themselves, is an ice and water membrane barrier that is applied to the roofs eaves, anywhere from 3 feet or more wide laid along the eave edge of the roof, under new shingles. How to Keep the attic entrance closed. Most homes have a dropdown staircase leading to their attics, but some have a built-in staircase with a door access. No matter how your home is set up, make sure the attic access stays closed as much as possible.

Hiring The right Company: This may be the most important preventative measure you take for your roof system to be from any leak potential and not just a band aid. Hiring the right roofing specialist that can diagnose and correct the issues at hand will likely lead to a solution involving a newly applied roof utilizing Owens Corning Total Protection Roofing System, the addition of proper ventilation mechanisms to the homes current roof structure, and newly installed insulation barriers.