‘Ice dams’ on Calgary roofs causing water damage to homes

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WATCH: Snow-covered roof tops in Calgary are creating headaches for homeowners. As Tony Tighe reports, roofing companies are responding to dozens of calls for ice build-ups causing water damage – Mar 5, 2018

Deep snow on top of houses in Calgary has led to an increase in roof leaks, and roofing companies are scrambling to fix the problems.

A crew from Sunik Roofing was on top of a roof in the community of Mount Pleasant on Monday, where a thick layer of ice formed under the deep snow and forced its way into openings around a skylight.

The melting ice leaked into the top floor of Stephanie Wittmeier’s home.

“It’s been dripping down so it’s penetrated all through the soffit, the flashing, it could have even penetrated the vapour barrier on the roof,” Wittmeier said. “Now it’s causing damage to the drywall.”

READ MORE: What’s Calgary doing with all the abandoned vehicles amid record snowfall?

“Ice dams” are common under heavy snow loads like Calgary has experienced this year. The city saw a record-breaking snowfall in the first few days of March.

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Left unchecked, the ice works its way into cracks and eventually melts, leading to water problems.

Brad Arnold with Sunik Roofing said it could be dangerous for homeowners to try and fix the problem themselves.

“Mainly what we’re going to do is clear the ice and create a channel for the water to flow so that it’s not backing up under the flashing,” he said.

Ice dams can also form on gutters along the end of a roof or under soffits.

Snow that’s covering or blocking the vents on a roof can also lead to water damage, according to Nick Sims with Sunik.

“All the moisture from your cooking and your bathroom goes straight up into the attic and if the vents aren’t there to take it away, it piles up and turns into icicles and then water problems,” Sims said.

READ MORE: Frustrated residents towed out of snowy Calgary neighbourhoods say parking ban not working

He added if homeowners start getting higher humidity in their house or hear a tapping noise in the attic, it could be a warning sign of block vents and water leaking.

The ice dam on Stephanie Wittmeier’s house has caused enough water damage to file an insurance claim.

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She has warned all her neighbours to have their rooftops checked and watch for warning signs.

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