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Residential Metal Roofing: Is It Right for Me?

When the contractor delivered the sad news that my roof needed replacing, that led to a discussion of material choices. I was surprised to hear that metal roofing was an option. Sure, it was fine for commercial buildings, but a home? My contractor told me that metal is used for homes more than people realize. The panels can be designed to look like just about any type of roofing you can imagine. After looking at some samples and finding out about the long life of metal roofs, I decided to give it a try. Fifteen years later, my roof is still in great shape. If you are facing a roof replacement in the near future, let me tell you more about metal roofing. I'm betting that you'll decide this solution is right for your home.

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Residential Metal Roofing: Is It Right for Me?

Curing The Common Ice Dam

by Kelly Murphy

Ice dams are like the common cold in some respects. There's always the possibility of one forming every winter and they're often a pain to get rid of. And like the common cold, prevention is the key to keeping ice dams from threatening your roof.

While you can't treat your roof to a hot bowl of chicken soup, there are plenty of other efforts you can take to alleviate ice dam formation and even prevent it from happening in the first place. The following explains how you can effectively take care of your roof's ice dam issues.

How to Break Up Ice Dams

There's more than one way to deal with the common cold and the same holds true for ice dams. Here are a few tips and strategies that'll prove useful for tackling ice dam buildup:

Break out the calcium chloride. Commonly used for melting ice on driveways and sidewalks, calcium chloride can also melt away ice dams. Simply pour some into a nylon sock or stocking, place it on top of the ice dam and wait until the material melts the ice dam away.

Let the pros steam it away. You can also have a professional safely melt the ice dam using the power of steam. Steam offers a safer way of removing ice dams since it doesn't damage shingles or any other underlying parts of your roof.

Forget about rock salt. Tossing a handful of the stuff that's also used for melting driveway ice buildup on your roof seems like a no-brainer. Unlike calcium chloride, however, rock salt can damage asphalt shingles and the resulting runoff can also ruin gutters and vegetation.

Avoid going the "hands-on" route. The temptation to break out the chisels and ice picks can be overwhelming, but removing ice dams manually places your roof at risk of severe damage.

How to Prevent Ice Dams from Forming

Just like a bad cold you've spent days nursing yourself through, you'll want to keep that nasty case of ice dam buildup from making an encore appearance. This means being proactive about roof care and maintenance.

Unsurprisingly, attic insulation has plenty to do with keeping ice dams at bay. What surprises many people, however, is the need for cold air within the attic to prevent ice dam formation. When heat penetrates the attic floor and makes it way towards the roof, this can cause snow melt everywhere except the cooler edges of the roof. This causes snowmelt to refreeze along the edges and create ice dams that allow water buildup.

Proper air circulation keeps the roof's temperature elsewhere the same as the eaves, creating a consistent environment where ice dams are less likely to form. In addition to adding enough insulation to keep indoor heat from penetrating the attic floor, you should also invest in good ridge and soffit ventilation. If your current vents can't move enough air to disperse attic heat, you can always install a motorized vent to draw in cold air or push warm air out of the attic.

Insulating and ventilating your attic isn't the only proactive step towards ice dam prevention. Here are some other strategies you can use to keep ice dams at bay:

Seal and insulate your ductwork. During the winter, uninsulated ductwork can radiate warmth into the attic, raising the attic temperature and making ice dams more likely to form. Sealing duct joints and wrapping ducts with high-quality insulation can prevent this warmth from escaping.

Cap your attic hatch. Unsealed attic hatches can inadvertently allow warm air to seep into the attic. Air sealing and insulating your attic hatch can help prevent this from happening.

Remove heavy snowfall from your roof. Heaping mounds of snow left over from a recent snowstorm can set the stage for eventual ice dam formation. To keep ice dams at bay, safely remove as much snow as you possibly can from your roof. An aluminum roof rake works well for this purpose. Using shovels or ordinary yard rakes can potentially damage your roof.

For more information, talk to a company that offers roof maintenance services.