What exactly is hoarfrost? In many cases, it is not actually frost. It is more appropriately called frost on concrete, slate, marble, or granite. In some cases, there may be some frost but it will be very fine and frost-free.
In others, however, the snow that melts in the winter on your roof or sidewalks and roads may create significant amounts of frost that can become a safety concern and hinder structural maintenance work.
Hoarfrost can also be called wet frost. It is the accumulation of frost on a concrete, slate, marble, or granite surface that has come in contact with an area where the temperature has been significantly below zero for an extended period.
It can also be called wet frost on wood and other materials that have a lot of water on them. In its most severe forms, it can even be the wet form of ice. A well-established building is most likely to have some amount of hoarfrost on its exterior, especially on the south and west sides.
This may be because of a lack of maintenance or to improve the building’s energy efficiency. In either case, the process of winterization means that the building’s exterior is exposed to temperatures that it must stay below for at least six months out of the year. For this reason, what is hoarfrost is created and the layer below it becomes filled with water.
There are three layers of ice that develop on a flat roof. The first is the layer just beneath the surface of the roof that is made up of water. This layer is called the snow layer. As the temperature starts to rise, the snow melts and moves to the second and final layer, the ice sheet.
What is hoarfrost in this context is the frozen residue that has frozen onto the roof. If you look closely at what you see on your roof, you will see a white frost on the far side of the gutters and a yellowish frost on the higher levels of the attic.
At the same time, there is the thickening of the ice beneath the shingles. In order to understand what is hoarfrost, you must realize that this thicker layer of ice develops as temperatures fall and as temperatures warm up. It is when temperatures are both warmer and colder than the surrounding air that this happens.
What is hoarfrost in the context of heating an entire house may seem obvious? But when we consider how a roof works, you can see that what is hoarfrost has secondary importance. The insulation that is used on an average home will only insulate the attic and will not cover the rest of the roof.
Thus, what comes down as precipitation is key to the proper functioning of the roof. What is hoarfrost in this context is not the frozen overhanging that comes with it. That is the debris that freezes over after it has come down from the sky or while it is melting.
What is hoarfrost is the internal ice that has formed under the shingles? This is the essence of the problem. And while it is difficult to see it if you are standing directly below it, you can easily see it by looking into an attic window.
What is hoarfrost is not just a danger to your roof? As mentioned earlier, it is also an issue for your home. If you want to ensure that you and your family remain safe, you need to learn about how to properly treat this type of icy buildup. There are professionals out there who can help with this process.