WHAT IS AN ICE DAM?
Ice dams occur when the snow melts near the ridgelines of warm roofs (roofs without adequate ventilation). As the water runs down the roof to the overhang, it cools and freezes. If the snow continues this melt and freeze process, an ice dam can form that can seep under the shingles, through the decking and into the house. This, of course, can cause serious roof leaks even in freezing temperatures.
The best prevention to ice dams is a well-ventilated (cool) roof. Additional protection for your roof can be applied with an impermeable ice and water membrane. The membrane is installed on top of the decking, under the roofing material.
Temporary prevention of ice dams can also be done through the use of electric cables along the eaves of the roof (where the dams usually form). However, new ice dams can form above the cables and still cause extensive damage. Another emergency solution to ice dams is to fill a sock or nylon with calcium chloride. Lay the stocking vertically across the ice dam. The calcium chloride will melt the ice and release the water so that it can drain outside, and not inside your roof.
CAN HEAVY SNOW DAMAGE MY ROOF?
Yes, it is important to keep heavy snow cleared away from vents and other critical drainage areas of your roof.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CLEAN MY GUTTERS?
Gutters should be cleaned at least once or twice in the fall.
WHAT IS SHINGLE BUNDLE DISTORTION?
Shingle bundle distortion is a phenomenon that can cause shingles to not lay flat after installation. The shingles do not flatten out or conform to the roof deck because they were “distorted” while in the bundle. After installation, an appearance of “bumpiness” or “lifted shingles” may be evident.
What Causes This Distortion?
Shingle bundle distortion is caused by the shingles conforming to the underlying shingles during storage and shipment while in the bundle and on pallets. This occurs between the time they are manufactured and the time the bundles are opened and the shingles installed.
Is There A Remedy For Distorted Shingles?
In most cases, time and warmth are the remedy. The shingles need exposure to sunlight and warm temperatures so they can “relax” and lay flat. Depending on temperatures, this process can take from one week to several months.
What NOT To Do! Do not lift the shingles and add roofing cement. The shingles will settle on their own. Lifting and hand-sealing the shingles is an unnecessary step and may cause latent damage or other unrelated potential problems.
WHAT ARE ASPHALT ROOF SHINGLES?
The most common covering used on residential properties in the Calgary and Edmonton areas is Asphalt roof shingles. In general, they are made with fiberglass mat and Asphalt mineral combination with the top surface coated with mineral granules (sunlight and water resistance), and the bottom coated with materials to prevent the shingles from sticking together in storage or shipment.
CAN A NEW ROOF BE INSTALLED OVER THE OLD SHINGLES?
You should never install new shingles over the old shingle roof system. Installing over the old shingles can cause unusual shapes to form in your new roof system and the roof system will not look smooth and level.If the old roof system is not removed it will not be possible to inspect the plywood deck sheathing for rot or deterioration that can become a much larger problem in the future. Moisture from the previous roof system can be trapped under the new system and the increased surface temperatures from having two layers of shingles can accelerate roof aging.
WHERE SHOULD ICE AND WATER MEMBRANE UNDERLAYMENT GO?
The purpose of ice and water underlayment is to stop water from passing through the roof system into a home. Ice and water membrane is needed most to address ice damming issues during the winter.
Ice can build up on a roof slope, usually at the unheated area at the eaves, forming an ice dam that prevents water from draining off the roof. In turn, this water can creep up under the shingles causing a roof leak. Ice and water membrane must be installed far enough up the slope to cover the first few feet of heated space.
Ice and water membrane should be installed at least six feet up the slope of the roof from the eaves, 6 feet wide in all valley areas, and around any heat source such as a skylight, chimneystack or flange. Ice and water membrane is a good investment and strongly recommended on roof rafters longer than twenty-five feet, on roof pitches below 4/12, and above cathedral ceilings.
HOW DO I KNOW FOR SURE I NEED A NEW ROOF?
Older roofing shingles and wood shakes typically have a 15- to 30-year lifespan depending on the shingles’ quality, the location and tree cover of your home, and how well the roof was installed originally. Direct sunlight, weather/wind, and poor roof deck ventilation are rough on Bay Area roofs.
Though the IKO shingles we use today have lifetime warranties, they didn’t a decade ago. We tell our customers that 12 years is a good rule of thumb to go by. At that point, check for these warning signs:
- Curling shingles
- Loss of the asphalt granulation (looks like bald spots)
- Evidence of leaking on your ceilings
- Cracked or discolored interior drywall (painted or wallpapered)
- Decaying shingles
- Missing shingles
- Visible cracks
- Wind damage
- Broken or damaged shingles
- Rusted or missing flashing
If a residential roof is over 15 years old, we recommend you call us out for a look. Sometimes the damage isn’t visible to the untrained eye on the ground, and catching it early can avoid expensive interior repairs in the future.