ICE DAMS: What’s This Bubbling Sheetrock Mean?

Matthew HanksDamaged RoofLeave a Comment

Water, yes… but how’s it getting in and why don’t I ever see it?  I have this conversation often as a roofer living in Colorado Springs.  The slow water intrusion that creates these bubbles that usually show up on exterior walls at the ceiling come from ice dams.  An ice dam is basically a mini glacier that camps out on your roof through the harshest of the winter months.  Typically on the north side of your home, often in valleys, these common Colorado occurrences can do massive damage over a few winters when left untreated.  Apart from the unwanted wall decor they bring, the bigger concern with ice damming is mold.  This is a concern that some can’t afford to mess with.
The solution:  There are two really.  The one that I recommend first most is an upgraded underlayment in that area.  This product has several names depending on the manufacturer, but is most commonly known as Ice & Water Shield   The simple way to describe what it is would be to tell you what it does.  As the nails penetrate the Ice & Water Shield the product seals around each nail.  That keeps the water that travels under the shingles and winds up on the Ice & Water Shield from working it’s way down the nail hole penetrations in the felt paper underlayment.  One of the challenges with going this route is matching the shingle in the area that your patching.  Even if your able to identify the exact manufacturer and color the years of sun exposure and weather will have caused fading.  If the problematic area causing a roof leak is in a place that you can’t see it very easily than this won’t matter but in many cases this can be an issue.
The other solution also works well but can require seasonal maintenance and, typically, the services of an electrician.  Radiant ice melt cables are a great way to keep ice dams from ever forming (also great for keeping icicles from forming and gutters from freezing up).  This may be a bigger eyesore to some than an unmatched shingle, but it may be a do-it-yourself option that makes sense for you to save a little money.  The electricity hurdle is often the deal breaker in going this route.  And It can also require seasonal maintenance to keep these wires in the proper place after the toll of winter scatters them.  Again, this is a good route but not a solution that will fix it in a way you won’t have to think about it again.
So, if you’re ready to finally fix those bubbles and paint that wall, request an estimate here or give True Mountain Roofing a call at (719) 306-0101.

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