The A-Z of housing terms from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Ice dams are the accumulation of ice at the eaves and valleys of roofs, and in some winters create major problems.
The primary function of the roof system is to protect against and manage the weather elements, particularly precipitation, thereby protecting the interior and structural components of the home. For the purposes of a home inspection, the roof system consists primarily of the roof coverings, flashings and chimney.
The component of sloped roofs most vulnerable to early deterioration is the area around the flashings (chimneys, plumbing stacks, valleys, etc., and particularly skylights.) It is not uncommon for these areas to develop a leak before the rest of the roof material has aged significantly.
I always thought roof raking wasn't really very helpful. Or so I thought until a couple years ago.
Ice melting socks! (nylon hose filled with safety salt)
The Ice Storm that hit eastern Canada in 1998 gave rise to extensive research into ice accumulation on roofs. Many of the techniques discovered are for skilled tradespeople only. No ice problem on a roof is serious enough to risk broken bones—or worse. And there is a delicate balance between removing ice and damaging the roof.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.