MARQUETTE, MI, Jan. 8, 2021 – U.P. Home Inspection, LLC, a full-service home inspection company in Marquette, MI, urges property owners to be aware of the risk of ice dams as we approach the coldest months of the year.

Many homes in the Upper Peninsula are considered antique (built before 1920), which can be a big problem when it comes to ice damming.

Rich Beasley, the owner of U.P. Home Inspection, LLC, says of older homes and potential ice damming: “Roughly 40% of homes we inspect in the Upper Peninsula have some form of ice damming on them. This is because people didn’t keep their homes as warm as we do these days, so preventing ice damming wasn’t a concern.”

Ice damming causes icicles to build up on the edge of roofs.

U.P. Home Inspection, LLC reminds the public of these important facts about ice damming in the Upper Peninsula:

What are Ice Dams?

An ice dam is a build-up of ice on the eaves of sloped roofs caused by heat loss, snowpack melt, and re-freezing. As heat seeps out of a property due to aging insulation or a failing roof, the snowpack starts to melt and drips down the eaves. When this melted water interacts with the cold edges of the structure, it re-freezes. That’s when the problems begin.

5 Reasons Why are Ice Dams are a Problem:

  1. Decking Degradation—Ice dams can permanently damage roof decking in as little as one season. If you have an older home, there may not be adequate sealant underneath the shingles. This can lead to the destruction of exterior and interior wall framing, rafters, and sheathing.
  2. Leaking— U.P. home inspector Rich Beasley says this is a common concern in certain properties in the Upper Peninsula. “In Marquette especially, we see a lot of two to three-story homes where ice melt isn’t diverted properly, and ice damming sets in on a first or second-floor roof or addition. You get one warm day, and bam. You start to see water damage”.
  3. Falling Ice— Gigantic icicles are pretty to look at but can pose a significant safety hazard to adjacent properties, vehicles, people, children, and pets if they snap off and fall.
  4. Mold— When water leaks into walls, insulation, and property structure, it can cause mold growth and respiratory illness.
  5. Peeling Paint— When water infiltrates a wall’s cavities, it can wreak havoc on paint jobs by causing blistering and peeling.

How to Fix and Prevent Ice Damming:

Ice dam prevention comes down to controlling heat loss, proper ventilation in attic spaces, diverting melting water with proper guttering, and creating a thermal barrier between the warm interior of the home and the cold roof.

There’s also the more costly option of installing thermal cabling that will melt ice build-up or installing an aluminum roof to discourage ice from taking hold in the first place.

Lastly, it’s essential to keep roofs, especially those on older homes, clear of snow build-up to avoid the melting-freezing process in the first place.

Residents of the Upper Peninsula with older homes are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a local home inspector to ensure ice damming this winter doesn’t cause injury or become a long-term problem for their property’s structural integrity and value.

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