Buying a new home for the first time is quite exciting, especially if you have been living in rented accommodations until now. It is a major commitment on your part and you need to be prepared for handling the maintenance and repairs on your home that were usually handled by the landlord where you rented. Roof repair needs to be at the top of your list for home care, especially when it is time to prepare for severe weather conditions. When you lived in an apartment building you may never have considered things like ice dams on your roof and how they can cause leaks inside your living space.
The concept of an ice dam on your roof may sound strange at first but when you understand how the heat from inside your home interacts with the cold air outside it makes perfect sense. The problem starts with the tendency of hot air to rise inside a house. If you have ever stood on a stepladder to change a light bulb in the winter you probably noticed how much warmer the air at ceiling level felt compared with the air at floor level. Warm air is lighter than cool air and will rise to the highest point inside a given space. It will rise all the way to the peak of your attic.
If your roof is not well insulated the warm air in your attic will eventually cause the snow on the peak of your roof to melt. The water trickles down slowly to the edge of the roof where the temperature is much cooler and freezes, forming a thin layer of ice. After a few days the ice builds up. Some of the water drips over the edge and forms icicles. You may like the look of icicles along the edge of your roof, but this is the first sign you are about to experience roof leaks.
Not all the melting water makes it over the edge of the roof. It begins to back up behind the ridge of ice along the edge and gets under the roof shingles. Left unattended, such a volume of water backs up that it has no place to go but through the roof platform into the attic structure below. You'll know something is wrong when you notice roof repair insider wet patches in your ceiling and walls.
You have some options to prevent ice dams from giving you a leaky roof. You can climb up on your roof every few days in the winter and scrape the snow off with a snow shovel but this can get old pretty quickly. To get rid of the problem for good you will need a decent layer of insulation in the attic and proper roof vents to keep the air circulating evenly. These preventative measures will require some cash outlay in the beginning but will save you from a hefty roof repair expense in the long run.
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