Dangers Of An Ice Dam On Your Commercial Roof


Commercial buildings in areas that experience temperatures below freezing point during colder months are vulnerable to snow and ice damage. Whether it’s a multi-story office building or a. small industrial building, snowstorms and ice can cause a range of problems to your roofing structure. And although shoveling seems to be one of the most challenging jobs ever, it is the least of your worries! Having an ice dam on your commercial roof can be your worst nightmare. This is not only because an ice dam is hard to prevent and difficult to remove but also because it can indirectly lead to severe damages to your roof structure.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is an extended slab of ice that forms at the edges of the roof. It forms when snow from the upper part melts and flows to the edge of the roof why it refreezes into ice, creating an ice block that prevents water from draining off. If left unchecked, the dam continues to get bigger and forms a massive barrier that makes the water pool on the roof. Eventually, the water starts seeping into the roofing materials, damaging the roof deck and attic. When the water finds its way through, it may damage the ceiling, walls, and other parts of the building. While most ice dams form at the edge of the roof, they are also common in the valleys and over soffits.

How are Ice Dams Formed?

Often, ice dams are formed as a result of non-uniform roof surface temperatures. Heat escaping from ducts and other parts of the attic cause the snow on the roof to melt and trickle down to the edge of the roof, where it refreezes, forming a large block of ice. As such, ice dams are attributed to poor insulation and lack of proper ventilation in attic spaces.

Dangers of Ice Dams on Your Commercial Roof

Although an ice dam doesn’t directly impact your roof, it leads to a dangerous backup of water that can wreak havoc to your roof structures and other parts of the building. If left unattended, the ice dams can lead to water accumulating on the roof, thereby predisposing the following damages:

  • Curled Shingles: When water pools on the top, it can make roof shingles to lift and bend, something that can lead to reduced effectiveness.

  • Rotting: When water seeps into the ceiling, wooden beams, and other roofing materials, it can make them rot, thereby compromising the structural integrity of the entire roof.

  • Damaged Gutters: Since ice dams form at the edge of the roof, they add more weight to the gutter system, making it pull away or spoil.

  • Mold and Mildew: Ice dams allow water to find its way into the building, causing dampness, which may lead to the formation of molds and mildew.

Damages caused by ice dams can last even after the cold seasons are over, especially in northern cities like Milwaukee. Therefore, it is vitally essential to seek professional help when fixing ice dams.

Can Your Insurance Company Cover Damages Caused by Ice Dams? And How Can PA Help?

If an ice dam leads to roof damages, you’ll need to talk to your insurance company about the issue. While most people want to know if their insurance policies cover the ice damages, the answer is both yes or no since it depends on your specific circumstances. For problems that occurred “suddenly and accidentally,” most insurers will afford coverage. However, if the loss or damage is perceived to have happened over an extended period due to negligence or faulty maintenance, most insurance companies may deny coverage. And since understanding how insurance companies operate can be daunting for a typical person, this is where PA comes in handy.

With several years of experience and a great understanding of the rules that insurance companies play by, we can help you open a claim and obtain a quick maximum settlement. While insurance companies claim to have valid reasons when denying claims, most of the time, the grounds are not legitimate. However, only a qualified PA will cut through lies and ensure that you get the rightful cover.

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