Experienced property owners and managers know that winter brings more than just frozen temperatures.
The season's snow is not only cause for extra care on the ground, but on your vulnerable roofing system.
When a snowfall leads to an accumulation on your roof, the snow provides insulation while the top floor of your building provides heat, melting the snow quicker in the center of your roof than on the outside.
As the snow melts, the water runs to your roof's edge and gutters, where it refreezes with the heat no longer below it.
As more snow melts and flows to the edge, ice dams begin to form, and will continue to grow as the process repeats.
With enough snowfall, this heavy ice will eventually start to work its way back onto your roof and even underneath roofing materials. Water pooling at your roof's edge can seep into the interior of your building and begin to corrode your insulation, framework, drywall, and more.
Apart from the extensive destruction caused by leaks, this process can create an ideal environment for interior mold growth. Making matters more complicated, these damaging culprits can secretly escalate inside your walls without proper inspections.
Unfortunately, deterioration might not expose itself until weeks or even months after ice dams on your building have melted. As the moisture in your interior walls can finally start to escape, it will push outward on your materials and manifest as peeling or blistering paint, finally showing through to the surface what's been taking place all season.
Sufficient inspections, ventilation, insulation, and other preventative practices are crucial for defending your building and its residents against heavy ice dams and invading moisture.