Ice Dams and Your Park City Mountain Cabin

 

It’s no secret that many of Utah’s cities undergo wet, cold winters. In Park City, we get an average of 287 inches of snow each year. This significantly increases the threat of ice dams. At Viotell, not only are we veterans when it comes to metal and roofing projects, but we are well versed with Utah’s unforgiving winters.

 

What is an ice dam on a roof and how does it happen?

An ice dam is a cold weather climate phenomenon, something us Park City folks experience regularly. An ice dam is a wall of ice, so to speak, forming at the end of your roof, halting the natural removal of snow and ice to keep your roof in tip top shape.

An ice dam typically happens after a snowfall (as little as 2-3 inches but typically 6 inches or more) and when the roof is warm enough for water to settle underneath the snow on your roof. Either the temperatures outside (above 32 degrees) or the temperatures in your home rise and this water begins to build up and ice over. It will continue through a cycle of freezing and thawing over time (perhaps freezing at night and thawing throughout the day), creating an ice dam. Typical ice dams start causing real issues once they reach 3-4 inches thick of ice and really block waterflow forcing it back against the slope.

Ice dams push water the opposite way of your roof slope, creating water intrusion and filtration issues by working its way under your roof covering leading to leaks, structural damage and mold if left untreated .

Low slope roofs have a higher probability of ice dams forming due to their naturally limited drainage paths. Whether you have a low slope roof or not, we recommend putting a strategy in place to prevent ice dams to keep your roof intact and save yourself some money.

 

How to mitigate and dissolve ice dams on your roof

There are two primary ways to mitigate ice dams: installation and insulation.

  • – Installation of heat systems: Heat tape and/or heat cables encourage the proper melting of snow and ice on your roof, particularly along the roofs eaves and other spots prone to ice dam formation. Ventilation systems such as ridge vents, soffit vents, and gable prevents can avoid condensation buildup and ice dams.
  • – Insulation: Cold roof insulation ensures the warmth of your home does not melt the ice or snow. You can read more about cold roof insulation here.

In addition, if you live in a high elevation, snowy climate, you’ll want to work with professionals to put together a strategy for maintenance. General contractors can help address air leaks, improve insulation, and install ventilation to reduce heat loss and minimize ice dam formation. They can also guide you on maintenance tactics including snow removal and gutter cleanings.

If you have an ice dam on your roof, it is vital you do not try to remove it yourself. Not only do they pose a safety hazard, but if you do not remove it correctly, you run the risk of permanently damaging your roof. Get in touch with local experts to aid in professional removal, and then apply our tactics to avoid future ice dams.

 

Closing

If you live in a cold weather climate, you will more than likely deal with an ice dam at some point. The best solution is to be prepared, know how to avoid them, and how to deal with the issue should it arise. Reach out to us today for professional installation and insulation to reduce the issue of ice dams before the next winter storm. We can help you gather a team of industry professionals, architects, and general contractors to safeguard your home.

A headshot of Viotell's COO and Partner, Anthony Ortega.

Anthony Ortega, COO & Partner

Anthony Ortega is a dynamic and results-driven executive with a proven track record of fostering growth and innovation. With extensive experience in business operations and high-functioning business acumen, Anthony has consistently demonstrated his ability to integrate and optimize complex business processes.

As the Chief Operating Officer of VIOTELL, Anthony oversees all facets of the company’s operations, finance, fabrication, vendor relationships, and client success. His strategic leadership and expertise in operational excellence have been instrumental in driving the company’s sustained growth and competitive edge.

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