Canadian winters can be a challenging time for our roofs. Our neighbourhoods are often composed of more mature homes that also come with specific needs to maintain performance. The biggest problem homeowners are presented with would be ice build-up, or ice dams, around the eaves and valleys of the roof. This is a common problem that varies greatly with the weather we are experiencing on any given winter. More significant concerns are seen when winter fluctuates from frigid to warmer temperatures. Repetitive freeze and thaw patterns cause a roof to work the hardest.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is any hump or ridge of ice that forms, usually along the eaves or valleys of a roof, that prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. When the water is unable to flow down off the roof, it can sometimes get trapped under older shingles and leak into your home. This often causes damages to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.
At Rydel Roofing, we specialize in permanent solutions to resolve these challenges. We want you to be knowledgeable about your home to avoid costly complications in the future as well. The style and type of roof on your home can present different solutions and we want to show you the best possible outcome. The solution may vary slightly, but the theory to any ice build-up solution always consists of three main components.
Adequate insulation is not only paramount in colder winter months, but also in warmer seasons as well. As we all know, insulation helps keep our homes warm in the winter. Proper insulation also helps direct the air flow in our attics as well. Attics which are over-heated can be a leading cause of ice build-up concerns. During summer months, the insulation keeps your home cool by blocking some of the warm air from entering your home.
Solution: An adequately insulated attic contains an R-50 value of insulation. There are different types of insulation to suit your attic and budget, and Rydel Roofing is pleased to help you make an informed decision. Your style of attic, existing insulation, and budget are three key factors we look at to determine what may be done to add insulation, if needed. Baffles are equally important to ensure sufficient airflow to enter from your soffits. Insulation and baffles can only work together, one without the other does not allow the system to work.
Homes with roofs which have not been replaced within the last 6-8 years most likely have small square “mushroom” like vents scattered along their roof. These only ventilate approximately 200-250 square feet of attic space and most homes do not have enough of these vents on their roof to ensure adequate ventilation. This can encourage ice to build up on your roof, and can lead to even more serious concerns, such as mould. You may also have noticed that these small square vents are easily buried in snow during the winter, making them ineffective and sometimes even causing small leaks. Ventilation is a top priority with any new roof installed by Rydel Roofing. We know that ventilation directly affects the lifetime of your roof, and the temperature inside your home.
Solution: There are commonly two types of attics: open and cathedral. An open attic will have a minimum of one large 4-fin tower vent installed. Just one of these tower vents can allow for up to 1,200 square feet of ventilation. Tower vents also sit higher along your roof line and are unlikely to be buried in snow. A cathedral attic requires us to install low profile hidden ridge vents which ensure proper ventilation across the entire attic space. Some homes even have a combination of both types of vents we’ve described here!
Ice & Water shield
It is no secret that with our Canadian winters can sometimes be unpredictable. While there is always a possibility of ice build-up, it is important to have a layer of protection. Proper underlayment should always include ice and water shield, and a synthetic underlayment throughout your roof to ensure Mother Nature’s surprises don’t surprise you with leaks in your home!
Solution: Rydel Roofing always installs a minimum of 6 feet of ice and water shield around all edges, along valleys, around skylights, walls and any low slope areas. Installing a high grade ice and water shield in these areas, or better yet – throughout your roof – would prevent any water from penetrating regardless of the amount of ice build-up your roof might see. As an additional level of protection, we will often recommend installing ice & water shield throughout your roof if it is considered to have a low slope for this precise reason.
Rydel Roofing is certified by IKO, GAF, BP, OWENS CORNING and WAKEFIELD BRIDGE. We understand the importance of these three components and we work with you to ensure your peace of mind for many years to come!