Turner Morris Roofing & Solar Newsletter
Issue: # 4  Ice Melt Systems

January 2013

Welcome to Turner Morris' quarterly newsletter and to 2013!  Hope everyone's new year is filled with anticipation of excitement to come!   Here at Turner Morris, we are all hopeful for more snow fall throughout Colorado but especially to the ski slopes!  Though with the coming of more snow, there tends to be more roof problems.  Good news!   Turner Morris can help with these issues.    Read below to find out more!  
Snow Melt Systems
...should you be worried about ice dams?


One of the most common causes of leaks in the mountains are leaks due to snow and ice buildup on sloped roofs.  Turner Morris responds to more leaks each winter 9000' above sea level on sloped shingle roofs than any other type of roof system (including flat roofs!).  Fortunately, Turner Morris has the knowledge and experience to help you deal with pesky ice dams that often result in a huge nuisance, loss of income on your short-term rental , or extensive damage to the structure.

Before ice melt system
After installation of new ice melt system

Ice Melt Systems are specifically designed to minimize or eliminate the formation of ice dams.  When designing a custom ice-melt system for a roof a few issues must be addressed.   The severity of the ice buildup must be taken into consideration.  It is important to evaluate if the buildup results in dangerous icicles or damming that could result in leaks.  In some cases, roof snow/ice removal is the most cost effective solution.  If icicle buildup is a concern a combination of heat tape and gutters placed in appropriate locations can resolve most issues.  In extreme cases where leaks or structural damages persist, Turner Morris can help evaluate the roof to offer the best possible solution through a combination of roof snow removal, heat tape, or the installation of a complete ice melt system.   


The formation of ice dams is generally caused by two factors.  The first and leading cause of ice dams is radiant heat loss throughout a building.  Heat within a building rises and gathers in the attic or ceiling cavity, which warms the bottom side of the roof decking.

Before ice melt system

  If the roof decking beneath the actual roofing material warms above freezing and there is snow gathered on that area of the roof, that snow will melt drain towards the roof edge.  As the water migrates down the slope of the roof it will often freeze at the roof overhang (soffit) as it is no longer above heated living space.  Resolving heat loss can be a challenge simply because the best way 

After ice melt system

to deal with the issue is to

add additional insulation, or install a cold roof system.  Unless the attic is easily accessible for the addition of more insulation, dealing with heat loss can only be done during a full reroof.  The second contributing factor to ice buildup on a roof is solar heat gain.  This issue remains more prevalent in Colorado where we have, on average, more sunny days throughout the year than most states.  The sun occasionally heats up the roof even when the temperature is below freezing, resulting in snow melting and water buildup on the roof.  Once this water travels onto a shady section of roof (or the sun goes down), it can quickly freeze as the temperature rapidly drops because lack of sun. 

Serpentine Pattern HT
Roof with serpentine patter heat tape  


Many buildings that have low to moderate ice buildup use heat tape cables installed in zigzag or serpentine patterns along problem areas on the roofs edge.  Heat tape is intended to create channels through ice dams at even intervals to allow water draining from above to escape off the roof rather than building up behind the thick slab of ice along a roof edge.  Heat tape cable can be susceptible to damage from ice migration, harmful UV rays and foot traffic on the roof when snow removal is required.  The life expectancy of quality, commercial grade heat tape generally ranges from five to ten years depending on design of the roof and quality of the heat tape.


Turner Morris installs miles of heat tape in a serpentine patter each winter, but can also help design and install various types of ice melt systems along the roof edge that have proven more far more effective than simple heat tape in a serpentine pattern.

Ice Melt System
Roof with ice melt system

 Ice melt systems allow an entire section of roof edge, or even an entire section of roof to be heated completely, which significantly reduces the likelihood of icicle buildup, as well as leaks due to ice dams.  The heat tape is covered completely with these custom ice melt systems, which can greatly extend the life of the heat tape. 


Please contact us for additional information on inspecting/troubleshooting existing heat tape, or to review designing and installing a new ice melt system.


Photos show actual systems installed by Turner Morris.  Visit the following manufacturers' websites for some additional photos:






Scott Cunningham
Project Manager 

Mountain Division 


Get Involved and Be Safe 
Answer our OSHA quiz question! 
Think you know OSHA rules and regulates?  Visit our Facebook pages and look for weekly OSHA quiz questions.  Let us know if you have any safety questions, concerns or thoughts!  We'll be glad to help!  Turner Morris is all about Safety First!  


Thank you for taking the time to read through Turner Morris' quarterly Newsletter.  We wish you all a prosperous and healthy 2013! 
 Turner Morris, Inc.
Commercial Roofing & Solar 
In This Issue
Snow Melt Systems
Facebook Questions
Project Pictures
Quick Links
Goody's T-Zone
Turner Morris completed a snow melt system for Goody's, a restaurant in Winter Park village.  They were having problems with snow falling onto high predestination traffic areas. Turner Morris installed a  T-Zone system to eliminate snow and ice buildup.  Click here to see pictures of the install!     
Also take some time and get acquainted with our Denver and  Mountain staff!      
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Mountains-  (970)262-1700                                                         Denver- (303)431-1300