Extreme weather causes roof damageTons of drifting snow and rain on top of it have created problems for homeowners in the Hudson area in the form of ice dams on the roof.
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
Tons of drifting snow and rain on top of it have created problems for homeowners in the Hudson area in the form of ice dams on the roof.
Unfortunately, experts say the best way to prevent ice dams is to deal with the problem during the hot sticky days of summer when snow and ice are the last thing on the mind.
Some area homeowners have suffered damage from ice dams causing water leakage inside the house.
“An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of the roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into the home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas,” according to experts at the University of Minnesota Extension website.
“We’ve had kind of a perfect storm for ice dams,” said Dave Smith of North Hudson who works with Hustad Roofing in the area and removes ice dams with a steaming process.
Smith said with the combination of a two-foot snow fall and followed by rain in December has created ice dams in places that never had them before.
“We’ve seen ice on the roof edge a foot or more thick and ice running 8-10 feet up the roof,” he said.
The problem is as the snow melts it moves down the roof but the ice dam at the end stops the water and backs it up under the shingles, said Smith.
Large icicles hanging over the edge of the roof can signal a big problem. “In some cases the ice pulls the gutters and soffits off the house,” said Smith.
Smith said the only effective way to remove the ice is by steaming once an ice dam is formed.
“The steamer shoots 300-degree water without high pressure,” he said.
But the procedure isn’t cheap. Steaming runs between $250 and $350 per hour. It’s not pleasant work. Smith said after going up on the roof and steaming out a dam in single-digit weather, he comes down looking like an icicle himself.
How do you prevent the ice dam problem?
Smith said “Proper insulation and proper ventilation in the attic is the key. “Ideally the temperature in the attic should be within 5 degrees of the outside,” he said. “So if it’s 15 degrees outside, it should be 10 degrees inside.”
The best time to prepare for ice dams is during the warmer months when homeowners are more likely to focus on the yard and garden.
“People pay to have their walks and driveways shoveled,” Smith said. “When you get a 20-year snowfall that adds thousands of pounds to the roof, it pays to have the roof cleared and avoid damage.”
So as to not feel too comfortable, Smith said homes are not out of the woods yet. “When the warmer weather comes, and the ice and snow melts, the problem will be exaggerated,” he said. “There will be damage caused with houses that never had a problem before.”
Chris Lick of Servpro in Hudson who specializes in water and fire cleanup and repair noticed a spike in business late in the year.
“It was definitely worse for ice dam damage than previous years,” he said. “We had so much snow in December that we don’t usually get and then the rain didn’t help.”
Lick said the calls for ice dam work have slowed down lately. “If you drive around you can see most of the snow is off the roofs in the area,” he said.
He also acknowledged that when the spring thaw comes around, leaking from the roof could show up. He also expects to get calls to clean up water in area basements with the snow melt.
“The best thing the homeowner can do is pull the snow off their roof, but when it gets to be a lot, it’s best to leave the roof shoveling to professionals, just because of the danger factor if nothing else,” Lick said.
Smith, a native of Hudson and 1981 Hudson High School graduate, works with a branch office of Hustad Roofing in the Hudson area. The parent company is in Madison. For more information, contact http://hustadroofing.com on the web or call (612) 328-6504.
Lick operates Servpro on Exit 4 off I-94 east of Hudson, for more information contact www.servpro.com on the web or call (715) 381-2266.