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jodil

Ice Dam at my house

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Ok I need you help. I have water coming inside at the top behind the trim of my patio door. Last summer I had new siding installed, obviously there is something missing (flashing?) but I cant see what it is since I had 8 inches of ice built up 2 ft up my roof and in my gutters... I shoveled 3 feet of snow off most of my roof. I dont have an attic at this portion of my roof (see pic of my roof line.) What can I do to melt this ice so I can see whats going on with the siding? I was thinking ice melt for drivways but it doesnt say on the bag if its damaging to asphalth shingles. Also what can I do once the flashing (or whatever the problem the dripping problem is coming from) to prevent this damming situation in the future?

Thank you!

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Originally posted by jodil

Ok I need you help. I have water coming inside at the top behind the trim of my patio door. Last summer I had new siding installed, obviously there is something missing (flashing?) but I cant see what it is since I had 8 inches of ice built up 2 ft up my roof and in my gutters... I shoveled 3 feet of snow off most of my roof. I dont have an attic at this portion of my roof (see pic of my roof line.) What can I do to melt this ice so I can see whats going on with the siding? I was thinking ice melt for drivways but it doesnt say on the bag if its damaging to asphalth shingles. Also what can I do once the flashing (or whatever the problem the dripping problem is coming from) to prevent this damming situation in the future?

Thank you!

I doubt that the problem has to do with the siding. It looks like you've got some fat & happy ice dams there. The leak you're describing is a classic symptom of an ice dam. Water gets stuck behind the dam, leaks under the shingles and through the roof and then follows the rafters down till it hits the top plate of the exterior wall. From there, it leaks down the studs till it comes to the header above the window or door. If you solve the ice dam issue, I'll bet the leak will go away.

With an ice dam like that, I wouldn't try to get rid of the whole thing. I'd try to create channels through it every so often so that water can flow around it. In your climate, I'd probably use heat tape to sculpt appropriate channels.

If your roof thaws out this winter, I'd then install the heat tape along all of the gutters, downspouts and the drip edges of the roof to prevent the ice dams from returning.

Someday, when you re-roof, it'd be a good idea to install ice & water shield along the lower 6' of your roof.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Because of capillary action, Jodi, the moisture doesn't always manifest beneath the leak. Is the drywall above the patio door damp? If not, the problem may be something as simple as a lack of, or improperly installed, head flashing.

It would be tough to uniformly melt all that snow and ice.

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I'd say you're missing flashing over the door and ice/water shield on the roof. Putting in flashing and ice/water shield after the siding and shingles are installed will mean tearing stuff off and starting over (at least in some places).

Of course, I could be wrong. There was a time when I thought snow dogs were actual dogs.

WJ

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by jodil

Ok I need you help. I have water coming inside at the top behind the trim of my patio door. Last summer I had new siding installed, obviously there is something missing (flashing?) but I cant see what it is since I had 8 inches of ice built up 2 ft up my roof and in my gutters... I shoveled 3 feet of snow off most of my roof. I dont have an attic at this portion of my roof (see pic of my roof line.) What can I do to melt this ice so I can see whats going on with the siding? I was thinking ice melt for drivways but it doesnt say on the bag if its damaging to asphalth shingles. Also what can I do once the flashing (or whatever the problem the dripping problem is coming from) to prevent this damming situation in the future?

Thank you!

I doubt that the problem has to do with the siding. It looks like you've got some fat & happy ice dams there. The leak you're describing is a classic symptom of an ice dam. Water gets stuck behind the dam, leaks under the shingles and through the roof and then follows the rafters down till it hits the top plate of the exterior wall. From there, it leaks down the studs till it comes to the header above the window or door. If you solve the ice dam issue, I'll bet the leak will go away.

With an ice dam like that, I wouldn't try to get rid of the whole thing. I'd try to create channels through it every so often so that water can flow around it. In your climate, I'd probably use heat tape to sculpt appropriate channels.

If your roof thaws out this winter, I'd then install the heat tape along all of the gutters, downspouts and the drip edges of the roof to prevent the ice dams from returning.

Someday, when you re-roof, it'd be a good idea to install ice & water shield along the lower 6' of your roof.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

We don't get anything like that around here. Wouldn't the wall/ceiling intersection be damp if water were pooling on top of the upper plate?

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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

I've seen plenty of roof shingles damaged from snow removal. Hatchet and mini sledge is what's used around here.

I used a set of ice climbing axes once, neighbours were pretty impressed.[:P]

-Brad

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The drywall is not damp. The water is coming in right under the upper interior door trim (see pic.) There is no water/ice at the top exterior of the patio door. I'm thinking that the water is either coming from the roof somewhere of the gutter region.. I am going to try the ice melter in a pair of tights... I'll let you know how it goes :)

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Careful, baby. Don't risk conking your head over a little water. Beside, it's gonna be a recurring pain in the arse till you solve the problem.

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Ive already shoveled the entire portion of that roof.. Dont think I am danger of "conking my head" but thanks for the concern.. Its not a little water. I have filled two 5 gallon buckets today. And I will wear more than tights Richard LOL!!! Outdoor Research makes great snow gear for up to 80 below!

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It probably violates everything you believe in, but your house might actually have to wear one of those lovely blue tarps until the temps warm up enough to allow you to correct whatever's wrong.

Whoooaaa, awesome. I think I just heard faint echoes of your shriek.

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Originally posted by Bain

We don't get anything like that around here. Wouldn't the wall/ceiling intersection be damp if water were pooling on top of the upper plate?

Eventually. But it almost always seems to show up at the trim above doors & windows first.

We didn't used to get much in the way of ice dams but my house has had them almost every year for the 5 or 6 years or so. The week before Christmas, we had ice dams that looked about like Jodi's do. I just waited for them to melt -- it was 48 degrees out today.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by jodil

The drywall is not damp. The water is coming in right under the upper interior door trim (see pic.) There is no water/ice at the top exterior of the patio door. I'm thinking that the water is either coming from the roof somewhere of the gutter region.. I am going to try the ice melter in a pair of tights... I'll let you know how it goes :)

I think you'll find that the water is coming from the back end of the ice dam. The gutter region is frozen solid. The water flows down the rafters, pools on the top plate and slips down the studs. Another possibility is that the icy underside of the roof has become a condensation engine and the water you're getting is condensate. If your drywall isn't damp yet, it might be that the builder put a layer of visqueen behind it to act as a vapor barrier. If so, the visqueen might be protecting the drywall.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I'm glad I don't have to deal with ice dams where I live (other than freak storms), but I would be more than a little concerned with the design in pictures one and two. It looks like water could build up against the wall and wick up and over any flashing at that location. I would like to hope that there is a property detailed cricket/ saddle in there, but what are the chances?

Jodi, did you ever have ice dams like this prior to the installation of the new siding? If so, is there a history of past leakage?

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The house is made to ice dam. Flush eaves, no overhangs, all those walls and eaves for water to back up under.

If you go heat tape, use Delta-Therm

http://www.delta-therm.com/roof_deicing_cables.htm

FTR, I dislike heat trace solutions immensely, but they can solve some tricky problems.

The only other option is strip the roof and siding, and run WR Grace way up (6' up the roof, couple feet up the walls).

The salt in the silk stocking thing looks interesting. I'd like to know if it worked. Take pictures.

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Here I go again, I am sure that Housdoc will shoot me down again.

I think you are looking at the symptom and discussing the treatment for the symptom. Your issue is probably Insulation related. Your house has so many transitions so close together It makes me wonder if you have insulation coverage over the top plate, chimney, and or the confined rake wall. This is the perfect situation and time of the year in your locale to use some Infra red thermography (by someone that know how to interpret the readings). The results should be fairly obviouse where the problem lies.

you can find some good info on this issue at:

http://www.buildingscience.com/search?S ... xt=ice+dam

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I wouldn't shoot it down. Of course it's insulation and ventilation related. And a host of other things.

I doubt there is any way to solve this problem with insulation and ventilation without gutting the roof structure and rebuilding it to accommodate the type and amount of insulation/ventilation necessary to make a difference. That ain't happening.

Which leaves the scaled efforts of......

1) Get rid of the ice dams & provide drainage with salt, heat trace, or some other means.

2) Or, strip the siding and roof, WR Grace the whole thing, then reroof and reside.

3) Or, gut the house and start over.

I'm betting #1 is the call.

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Warning: Thread Drift ahead!

Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Of course, I could be wrong. There was a time when I thought snow dogs were actual dogs.

WJ

When I read that I thought of this picture.

ar120671604988872.jpg

Then I realized that my picture is actually a "sun dog" or "parhelion, not a "snow dog"!

So tell me, were you meaning "sun dog" or "snow dog". I couldn't find any references to "snow dogs" other than the movie and youtube videos of dogs playing in the snow!

Curiousity compels me to ask!

Here's the full story on my sun dogs.

Jodi: Ice Melt in tights? Huh!

-

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We call 'em snow brakes. They hold the block of ice that usually forms on the eaves from sliding off and killing someone.

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Hi,

Actually, I wouldn't have shot you down, Rocon. You're absolutely right; a lack of adequate insulation, inadequate ventilation and warm air leakage up into that roof plane is probably what's caused that mess. If that roof plane were properly ventilated and there weren't any air passages, that roof plane area would only be 3-4 degrees warmer than the outside temps, the roof would stay cold and the ice wouldn't melt.

Ice and water shield if fine but when I was taught about what forms ice dams there was no such material around. I was taught that if your roof is installed correctly and you've done a good job detailing your ceilings, insulating the ceilings and ensuring that there is enough ventilation to keep the roof cold that damming wouldn't occur. Those two pot vents on the roof might just as well be lawn ornaments for all the good they're doing there without a way for air to get under the roof plane from the eaves. They should have installed a fascia vent behind that gutter. It's not hard to do, instead of the solid trim, they install a piece of trim with a bunch of 2-inch holes drilled in it, mesh applied to the back of it and 1/4-inch spacer blocks fastened to the face of it right where the ends of those rafters are. Once the gutter is installed, there's a constant flow of air up through that gap from the fascia to the upper vents and the roof stays plenty cold enough to prevent the melting that causes the damming.

Of course, if you've got a bunch of recessed lights and all kinds of heat pouring up into that roof plane you might as well just plan on camping out on the roof whenever it snows so that you can keep it clear, 'cuz it's going to keep damming until you stop that warm air from getting up into the roof plane and melting that snow.

I also agree with Kurt and Jim; it's backing up on the roof and probably entering the roof plane a couple of feet from the edge, drains down the rafters, onto the top plate and into the wall below where it comes our around the door. Yeah, with that ding-dong post-modern artsy-fartsy architecture, no overhangs and gutters flush to the eaves, it's just an ice dam waiting to happen.

Where I'm from, snow dogs are common on metal and slate roofs. When we would get called about "leaking roofs" in the dead of winter and discover that the roof was fine and the mess was caused by an ice dam, we used heat tapes installed above the gutters at the eaves and one lying in the gutter that extended to the bottom of the downspout to keep things flowing. We'd remove ice with a piece of wire strung on a bent piece of wood that looked like an archer's bow. Wire cuts ice pretty quickly for some reason. Once we got the thing cleared and the water flowing, they kept the heat tapes up there for the rest of the winter and would plug them in whenever necessary and the next spring the roof plane would get first aid to fix the poor ventilation, seal the air passages and get some insulation in there.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Jodi,

First - a home inspector should not be living in a nice house like that!

Second - Ice melter works better than salt. Salt will melt faster and the chemical stuff is not so sensitive to the water.

Third - I have used the sock method many times, using my wife's panty hose legs.

Fourth - I pretty much agree with the other learned brethern.

Fifth - We call them snow dogs.

Sixth - do something to get rid of water now and fix it later.

Seventh - I likely would use ice cable and suffer the scorn of other inspectors.

or

"God put it there and he will take it away"

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Originally posted by Erby

Warning: Thread Drift ahead!

Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Of course, I could be wrong. There was a time when I thought snow dogs were actual dogs.

WJ

When I read that I thought of this picture.

ar120671604988872.jpg

Then I realized that my picture is actually a "sun dog" or "parhelion, not a "snow dog"!

So tell me, were you meaning "sun dog" or "snow dog". I couldn't find any references to "snow dogs" other than the movie and youtube videos of dogs playing in the snow!

Curiousity compels me to ask!

Here's the full story on my sun dogs.

Jodi: Ice Melt in tights? Huh!

When I first went to work at Old-House Journal, I caught the job of answering reader questions via the phone. Well, don't you know, some Yankee woman called up asking about "snow dogs." I covered up the mouthpiece and asked everybody in editorial: "What's a snow dog?"

When they quit laughing, they took turns telling me that snow dogs in Yankeeland are those upstands usually found on sheet-metal roofs. Apparently, they cut the snow into sheets, so it slides off in chunks that aren't big enough to kill a person.id="blue">

Or at least that's what they told me. Coulda been a snipe hunt, I guess.

I was going on the theory that snow dogs were something like sled dogs.

WJ

They are refered to by different names. I always called them snow birds.

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