Roofers and those "in the know" often warn against letting ice dams form on a roof. They recommend measures such as improving your attic insulation and increasing ventilation to prevent ice dams from forming. But sometimes, you may not have time to take these measures, and you might end up with ice dams. Once spring comes and everything melts, it's a good idea to take a look at the roof and assess whether it needs repairs. Here are some common repairs roofs often need after having ice dams.
Seal Down Lifted Shingles
The main reason why ice dams are so bad is that they work their way under shingles. The water weasels itself under the edge of a shingle. Then, it freezes and expands, which causes the shingle to be pried away from the roof. If your roofer notices any shingles that are lifted along the edges, then they can cement or seal those shingles back down. This should prevent them from causing leaks in the upcoming, rainy spring.
Replace Missing Shingles
Sometimes, the ice dams may lift the entire shingle off the roof surface. They may get caught by the wind and blown off completely. A few missing shingles don't mean your entire roof needs to be replaced. A roofer can simply replace the shingles that are missing, ideally with new shingles that match your old ones. It will be important, moving forward, to prevent ice dams from forming again so these new replacement shingles don't suffer the same fate as your old ones.
Straighten Bent Gutters
When ice dams form on the edge of your roof, they often extend down into the gutters. If your winter had a number of freeze-thaw cycles, then the ice in the gutters can become quite extensive, pushing the edges of the gutter out as it grows. Bent gutters don't drain well, and they tend to hold onto a lot of leaves. So, your roofer will likely straighten out the bent gutters if they find them. If the gutters are in really bad shape, they may recommend replacing the damaged portion of the gutter.
When possible, it is best to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. But when things don't work out this way, it's important to be proactive. Have a roofer come out in the spring and look over your roof. They can perform any shingle repairs that are needed, which are likely to be those discussed above.