Three Home Design Mistakes That Lead To Ice Dam Formation

When you drive down the street in the winter time, it's common to see homes with large ice dams and icicles at the edges of their roofs. While these ice formations might look pretty, they can lead to loose shingles, leaks, and mold problems. Thus, they are best avoided. While many cases of ice dams are simply caused by inadequate insulation in the attic, other cases are caused by design flaws in the home's structure. If you're thinking of building a new home or even having a new roof put on your home, avoid these three mistakes which often lead to ice dam formation.

Including skylights in the roof design.

Adding a skylight to your home certainly sounds appealing. Imagine looking up at the ceiling and enjoying a clear view of the night sky! Unfortunately, if you live in an area where the winters bring snow and freezing temperatures, skylights cause more trouble than they're worth. Even when the thickest, most heat-resistant glass is used, skylights tend to allow heat transfer from your warm home to the roof. As the roof warms around the skylight, snow melts and trickles down to the edge of the roof, forming an ice dam. To avoid ice dams and the problems they cause, you're better off settling for a big picture window rather than a skylight.

Running heating ducts through the attic.

Many homeowners want to use their homes as efficiently as possible, and this sometimes includes converting some of the attic space to living space. This is not as good of an ideas as it sounds. When you use the attic as living space, you must heat the attic, and all of that extra heat so close to your roof may be too much for any amount of insulation to prevent from warming the roof.

You should also avoid running heating ducts through the attic to bring heat from room to room, as this design can also warm the roof. Running ducts through walls may present more building challenges if you're remodeling, but in the long-term, it's better for your home than running them through the attic.

Placing exhaust fans too close to the roof.

If exhaust fans from upstairs bathrooms and kitchens are placed too close to the roof, they may cause the snow above them to melt, contributing to ice dam formation. When installing a new exhaust system, make sure the vent is located several feet below the roof's surface, and you'll avoid this issue.

There are so many factors to keep in mind when designing a new home or making changes to an existing one. Avoiding ice dams should certainly be one of the factors at the top of your list. Avoiding the mistakes above might take some effort, but when your roof stays leak-free and rot-free for decades, you'll be glad you took the right precautions against ice dams. Make sure to consult a roofing expert from a company like Whitaker Construction Group Inc. to be sure that your roof is designed to prevent this problem.