Ice Dam Removal | Ice Dam Damage Repair | Pittsburgh, PA
Each winter, Massaro Restoration provides commercial property owners with ice dam removal and ice dam damage repair in the Pittsburgh/Western PA region.
We all know just how cold Pittsburgh winters can be. While we tend to associate a “bad winter” with heavy snowfall, frigid temperatures, and treacherous driving conditions, we often forget that inclement weather is also a common cause of serious property damage.
A good part of the structural damage we see in winter months is due to ice damming. Ice dams have the potential to damage both a structure’s roof and interior. The most common ice dam related damages we see are collapsed gutters and downspouts, cracked plaster on ceilings and walls, paint peeling, saturated carpets, and ruined hardwood floors.
Through the years, the restoration professionals at Massaro have learned that many homeowners are unfamiliar with ice dams. We’ve created this page to serve as a quick resource for Pittsburgh area property owners concerned about ice damming and ice dam related property damage.
What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams develop when the snow that accumulates on rooftops melts and then refreezes. On a frigid winter’s day, a roof’s temperature will naturally be cold. Possibly below freezing. But the underside of the roof in your attic or top floor may be warm, melting that rooftop snow.
While water runoffs from melted rooftop snow ideally just trickle off the edge of the roof, into the gutter and down your downspout, problems arise during long stretches of cold temperatures.
If the edge of a building’s roof is perpetually below freezing, the water refreezes when it reaches that point. This results in a “dam” of ice forming along the roofline’s edge. This dam only gets higher as more snow melts, hits this obstacle, is unable to drain, and refreezes. If timely ice dam removal doesn’t occur, trapped water can eventually get underneath roof shingles and make its way inside the structure.
How To Prevent Ice Dams
Proper Insulation and Ventilation: A well-insulated attic is the best way to prevent the melting/freezing cycle that causes ice damming. Adding insulation, increasing ventilation, and sealing off possible air leaks with the potential to warm the underside of your roof, are guaranteed ice dam busters.
Snow Removal: Immediate snow removal helps prevent ice dams from forming. If you own a one-story ranch-style home, this is a certainly a potential DIY project with the use of a roof rake or even a broom. However, Pittsburgh has a lot of taller structures with hard-to-reach rooftops complicating snow removal. If your roof isn’t easily reachable, we suggest avoiding the hazard altogether and calling on professionals for rooftop snow removal.
While large icicles confined to gutters don’t necessarily indicate the presence of an ice dam, they pose significant safety risks when they fall off. Watch them carefully. If the gutter has iced behind the icicle, or the downspout is covered in a sheet of ice, it may be indicative of a dam.
Clear Downspouts: The area around your downspout can often get cluttered with debris (leaves, branches, etc.) or ice. By making sure this area is clear, you’re increasing the likelihood of your gutters properly draining water runoffs from melted snow.
What To Do If You Suspect An Ice Dam
First, just because an ice dam is present, it doesn’t necessarily mean water has permeated your structure. To determine if ice dam damage repairs may be needed, look for water stains or moisture spots in the attic or at the very top of your top floor’s exterior walls.
If you can reach the roof, you may be tempted to take a hammer, or a rake or broom handle, to the ice dam to break it up. This isn’t recommended as you can seriously damage your roof or gutters.
DO NOT throw rock salt on your rooftop, as this will further damage the roof. You CAN use ice melt (Calcium Chloride). It’s suggested that you throw a paper bag or nylon sack full of this ice melt onto your roof. Try to land it behind the ice dam.
If your rooftop can’t be safely reached, don’t risk it. Massaro Restoration is a phone call away and ready to provide ice dam removal and repair services in and around Pittsburgh.
Call us at our Hotline: 412-599-0023 to ask about our ice dam removal and repair services in Pittsburgh, Cranberry, Wexford, Sewickley, Fox Chapel, Murrysville, and surrounding areas.
Have a question? Need our Address? We’re available 24 hours a day, every day, by phone at 412-599-0023.
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