New Englanders are no strangers to ice dams. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof, preventing melting snow from draining the way it should. Rather than draining as it should, the backed up water behind the ice dam can (and likely will) leak into your home, causing damage to your walls, insulation, ceilings and, of course, floors.

During the winter and early spring, ice dams are the #1 problem with hardwood floors that homeowners in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

To address this problem, insurance companies throughout the Northeast will come to a home with industrial-sized blow driers, in the hopes that by drying the floors’ surface area, wood flooring experts like Ace Wood Flooring can come in and sand and refinish them.

“That is the absolute worst thing you can ask them to do,” says Troy Hewes, Ace Wood Flooring’s Manager/Owner.

Hewes states that as a result of the saturation incurred from this snowmelt, there will be the development of at least some mold underneath your flooring. While the mold may seem insignificant at the moment, over time it’ll worsen, and the repairs resulting from your mold and mildew infestation will not be covered in the future by your homeowner’s insurance.

The insurance company’s approach to solving saturation damage caused by ice dams is superficial. It’s employed only because it’s the quickest and most inexpensive approach.

But it’s also the most ineffective.

Under no circumstances should you allow your insurance company to blow dry your hardwood floor. Hewes states there is only one proper way to repair damage caused by ice dams.

“Remove the wood floor and replace it completely.”

Tips for New England Homeowners: Facts about Ice Dams

What causes ice dams? The cause of ice dams is the escape of heat into your attic or roof space. This heat causes snow on your roof to melt. The melted snow runs to the colder edge of your roof and forms an ice dam.

Can you see ice dams from the ground? Yes, you can see ice dams from the ground. Those huge icicles you see forming? That’s a sign of a potential ice dam. However, you’ll likely not be able to easily see the dams that form above skylights or in roof pan areas.

When will I notice leaking caused by an ice dam? You very well might not see the results of your ice dam for a while. What often happens in homes throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island is that the water travels around wall and ceiling cavities for some time until it discovers the path of least resistance. Once you do eventually see water damage inside your home, it’s usually been there for quite some time.

Who do I turn to in New England to repair damaged floors caused by ice dams?

If you’ve discovered damage to your wood floors – as a result of ice dams – then you’ll want to contact your insurance company immediately. However, we also recommend that you contact a hardwood-flooring specialist, such as Ace Hardwood of Rhode Island.

By contacting a wood-flooring specialist early on, you can make sure that your insurance company follows proper procedures, rather than approach your damage with the least expensive solution. Your goal is to pursue the long-term solution, not a quick fix. If left untreated, mold and mildew beneath your floors can eventually cause serious health issues for you and your family.

Learn more about how Ace can help you repair damage to your floors caused by ice dams. We serve homes and businesses throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Email me info (at) acewoodfloors.wpengine.com or call 401-241-3966.