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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Is Ice Damming a Common Cause of Flooding in Chicago?

10/10/2020 (Permalink)

flooding in home No matter what threats your home faces after a flood disaster, our professionals can respond quickly when you call (773) 337-3993.

Chicago homes and structures can often experience extreme temperature drops that can lead to threatening conditions like ice damming.

Many Chicago properties must prepare for structural damages and unexpected flood damages during the winter months when harsh seasonal conditions exist. Ice is often one of the most troublesome of these winter effects and can impact residences in multiple ways, including freezing and bursting exposed pipes. Much like torrential rainfall, excessive precipitation mixed with the lower temperatures can allow for conditions like ice jams as well that can back up the flow of rivers, creeks, and streams. Natural flooding can result in nearby homes and businesses when these emergencies occur.

Preventing flood damage in Chicago properties and homes can be a considerable challenge. Conditions can change quickly that allow for natural flooding to overtake neighborhoods when streams and water bodies overflow their banks. Likewise, heavy snowfall can test the limitations of aging roofs and joists, allowing for partial collapses that leave attics exposed to precipitation and flooding. Extreme temperature conditions can also lead to situations like ice dams without careful consideration of your roof's state. The presence of these dams could be highly destructive to shingle roofs.

What is Ice Damming?
Homes contend with extreme temperature drops accompanying heavy snowfall. These icy conditions can lead to a dam forming along the edges of a roof under specific circumstances, namely when warm air from the attic, accompanied by poor insulation, warms spots of the roof, and melt present snow.

How Does Water Get Into the Attic?
As the ice forms and spreads back up the roofing materials, it can force itself underneath shingles. Not only can this loosen these portions of the home's exterior, but it also provides direct water access to the underlayment and plywood backing of roof systems. When water absorbs through these materials, it can begin flowing into the basement unabated. While elements of the roof system can become quickly damaged, four main components can become impacted by intruding water:

    •    Shingles
    •    Underlayment Material
    •    Plywood
    •    Joists

How Do You Know When Flooding Occurs?
Flood damage is a considerable threat when left unchecked. You might not notice these concerns immediately but can identify them by changing conditions in floors beneath your attic. Some signals of potential flooding and water damage include:

    •    Leak – A steady drip or damp place on ceiling material can often indicate thorough saturation that results from water penetration on the flooring above in the attic.
    •    Sagging Material – When materials become heavily saturated, especially porous structural elements like sheetrock, they can begin to sag.
    •    Staining – Gradual leaks over long periods can often appear more as staining on white ceiling materials than persistent drips.
    •    Visible Ice – After a heavy snowfall, you might recognize the dam of ice forming on the edges of your roof that can indicate a need for immediate actions.

What Can SERVPRO Do to Resolve the Flooding?
As a leading flood restoration company in the area, our team has multiple tools and practices to make a recovery more efficient and cost-effective. While we have several avenues to address these threats, nearly all attic flooding situations require:

    •    Extraction – Water removal is always one of the foundational elements of flood restoration, and in confined spaces like the attic, need special tools like high-pressure pumps and wet vacuums.
    •    Drying – By using positive pressure systems that can infuse roof system materials with heated, dry air, our team can promote evaporative drying within structural cavities and in the entire attic space.
    •    Repairs – If structural concerns exist with the roof of the house because of ice damming, elements of the roof require replacement to reduce the continued flood threats.

What Can SERVPRO Do About the Damaged Roof?
Eliminating the source of damming is one of the critical ingredients for addressing this situation. Inadequate insulation is often a primary culprit for damming developments. With roof repairs that might be necessary after these flooding situations, we can also ensure that the appropriate insulating materials get installed along with build back. In addition to sufficient insulation for your household, we must also address the dam itself on the roof's edges. While chipping away at the buildup to break it loose is partly an effective strategy to remove ice, chemical deicing and even warm water application can speed up the melting process.

When ice dams exist, there is a small window of time to stop this harmful situation before flooding results. When the attic space becomes impacted by intruding water, our SERVPRO of Marquette Park / West Lawn / Ford City team can help with efficient and thorough extraction and drying solutions. No matter what threats your home faces after a flood disaster, our professionals can respond quickly when you call (773) 337-3993.

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