Icicles and snow covered roof creating an ice dam

Dealing with Ice Dams on/above Vinyl Roof Decks

As each winter approaches you can help protect your vinyl decking with these deck ice dam prevention tips. Whenever snow accumulates on or above your vinyl roof deck, you could be facing issues with ice dams. If so, they need to be addressed immediately.

#1: Understand the Causes of Ice Dams

Deck ice dam prevention starts with understanding how ice dams start. Essentially, ice dams happen with snow melts and then refreezes before it can drain off the roof or your vinyl roof deck.

Once that first line of snow freezes into ice, it starts to back up along the roof line. Each subsequent snowfall will lead to more melt, more water, and more ice dam buildup. The downside is that the water can get pushed under shingles, shakes, or your waterproof vinyl membrane and cause damage to the structure that protects your home and deck.

Unfortunately, if there’s already an ice dam developing, it can be difficult to fix without causing more damage. But you can follow these deck ice dam prevention tips and take steps to reduce the problem over the winter and eventually fix it in the spring.

#2: Check Inside for Sources of Ice Dams

The primary cause of ice dams under a roof or vinyl roof deck is heat. The heat melts the snow, but as the snow reaches the edge of the roofline it refreezes. The cause of the escaping heat is usually due to a lack of proper insulation in an attic or underneath your vinyl roof deck. By improving insulation in ceilings and attics you can prevent warm air from escaping as easily. In turn, this improvement can reduce your heating bill over the winter.

#3: Review the Exterior As Part of Your Ice Dam Prevention

Clean gutters can also help with deck ice dam prevention. Clean gutters help your roof system to remove water from the roof and vinyl roof decks during the winter, so make sure they are clean. Home improvement stores also carry overheating cables that can be placed on roof edges to encourage snow to melt if ice dams are a common problem on your roof.

#4: Avoid Damage to Vinyl Roof Deck

If you have an ice dam, avoid pulling it out as this could damage anything it’s frozen too. The last thing you want to do is damage your vinyl roof deck, shingles, or the structure itself. However, there are a few things you can for ice dam prevention and to alleviate the ice dam from becoming worse.

For ice dams that are well developed, tarp off underneath so falling ice won’t damage your vinyl membrane. Also, avoid walking underneath! You can help encourage ice to melt by using de-icer, just make sure that it doesn’t spend too much time in contact with your vinyl deck.

#5: Help with Ice Melt

When the far side of winter is in sight and the temperature warms, you can help ice dams melt by using a hose.  Alternatively, you can choose to place a long-term de-icer on your roof (but not on your vinyl roof deck) by filling pantyhose with calcium chloride and placing each leg perpendicular and slightly overhanging the roof line. The de-icer will melt the snow and provide channels for water to exit the roof.

#6: Check Vinyl Roof Decks

Once the ice melts, you’ll want to thoroughly check over your vinyl roof deck and roofing for damage. You’ll also want to take ice dam prevention steps to prevent ice from forming the future. You might consider replacing a damaged vinyl deck membrane for better protection next year

About Econodek

Econodek is a tough, waterproof DIY vinyl decking product that is ideal for new deck surfaces or for re-surfacing old decks. This a great waterproofing product that many waterproofing specialists and deck construction contractors also use.

To learn more about Econodek vinyl decking for do-it-yourselfers, please call us toll free at 1-877-860-9333 or send us an email.