Icicles hanging from your gutters can be as beautiful as any work of art. Unfortunately, they can also be a red flag for roof issues you’ll want to take care of sooner rather than later. Can icicles damage your roof?
Can Icicles Damage Your Roof?
When you live in a colder climate, icicles hanging from the gutters are just another part of living in a winter wonderland. The glimmer of holiday lights on ice and snow can give anybody a warm, cozy feeling. But as nice as they are to look at, icicles are more than a winter decoration. If they build up too much, they can spell bad news for your roof. How can icicles damage your roof, and what can you do about it?
Where Do Icicles Come From?
To understand why icicles can pose a threat to your roof, it’s helpful to know how icicles form. When it comes to most forms of precipitation, you can usually count on them sliding off of your roof before they can cause much damage. If there are existing cracks or other issues with the roof, water can get inside, but if not you’ll stay high and dry no matter how much it pours.
Snow is a different story. Unlike rain or hail, snow can stick around on your roof as long as the temperature allows. However, while it stays cold outside, the temperature will still rise inside your home. As the heat rises to the roof, it will melt the snow away. As the snow melts from the sides of the roof, the water starts to drip down, only to re-freeze once it hits the colder air off the side of the roof. Eventually, these drips become icicles.
If you have a couple of icicles hanging off your roof, you don’t need to panic. Small icicles are common, and just a part of your home’s temperature adjusting to the weather. However, if you are seeing larger icicles, ice dams may be developing on your roof.
What Is an Ice Dam?
Ice dams can form on your roof when heat rises into the eaves of your rooftop, causing ice to melt and then rapidly re-freeze as it drips downwards. If the water freezes back into ice before it is able to leave the roof, an ice dam will result. This ice dam will cause water to remain on the roof instead of melting safely away.
Unfortunately, when that water re-freezes, it can result in some serious damage to your roof. When water freezes, it expands. This means that when water builds up between your shingles, it can damage them by crushing them or pulling them apart when it freezes. This can cause leaks and other roof failures. In a worst-case scenario, ice can also build up in gutters, pulling them free and causing significant damage.
What Can I Do About Icicles?
While icicles can be worrying, they’re a problem any homeowner can address. Preventing icicles is only a matter of making sure your roof is ready for winter every year:
- Make sure your roof is appropriately insulated, and that your attic is able to remain cooler than the rest of your house. You should also make sure that your home is properly ventilated to prevent heat from building up in the attic space.
- Your gutters are essential to removing snow and ice from your roof, so make sure they’re clean and in good condition before the next snowfall. If excessive snow falls on your roof, remove it if you are safely able to do so. If you cannot safely remove the snow on your own, contact a roofing professional.
- If you take these steps and are still struggling with icicles, it’s time to call in the professionals. Call a licensed roofer and request an inspection.
Can icicles damage your roof? Not always, but the damage they can cause is serious enough that you don’t want to ignore it. So keep an eye on those gutters next time it snows.
If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help with your roofing needs. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information regarding roofing options, ice dam prevention, and more, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!