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Country Discussion Topics
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A note about ice daming-
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Mike D.    Posted 01-12-2004 at 10:05:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
Seems like a number of people here in No. Va. had ceiling stains, and insulation damage from ice daming above their gutter line, then melting and backing back up into the attic. The water runs down into the attic insulation and then onto the backside of the ceiling, staining the ceiling, and in some cases causing the drywall to buckle, and pop nails.

This is preventable. Usually does not require any roofing repair. If you are having similar promblems with your ceiling, and gutters freezing solid, etc. look into your attic. That will usually be the culprit.

Warm air escapes the house into the attic, finding it's way to the upper reaches of the roof slope. Then it melts the snow above. That melted snow will run down into the gutter, and subsequently refreeze. The frozen snow melt will then begin to build upon itself with future snows adding depth to the dam.

Making sure that heat does not escape into the attic is part of the solution. You can do this by caulking holes that wires and pipes lead through, laying an insulation blanket over your attic access, and trapping air under more insulation. Be careful with recessed lighting. Most of these fixtures require insulation to be a certain distance from the fixture. This creates a large heat sink in the winter months. You give up a lot of heat this way.

In some houses the insulation runs all the way to the eaves. Big mistake. This inhibits any natural flow of air between any overhang vents (soffit vents) and the upper vents in the roof structure. These upper vents are usually on the gable ends in older house, and ridge vents in newer houses and additions. I've gone into customers attics to find vents covered over with plastic and duct tape. Usually the same house will have restricted lower vents too. The ice daming in the gutters build all winter, then if we get a good thaw followed by heavy rain folks have water stains suddenly and often blame the problem on their gutters, or shingles.

A general rule of thumb is 1 square foot of combined roof venting for every 150 foot of ceiling space on the uppermost floor.

So- before you look into spending your hard earned cash on gutters, roofing membrane, and shingles, look into how well your attic ventilates warm air. Your A/C will thank you for it too.

I hate to see people get caught up in spring time roofing hustles based on ice daming woes, when usually the problem is a matter of controlling the movement of air, rather than by attempting to control the movement of water.

Mike D.



Greg VT    Posted 01-12-2004 at 12:27:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Keeping the roof cleared of snow three or four feet back from the eaves can help considerably if you are having problems but don't have the time or know how to get to the root of the problem.

Sometimes no matter how well your roof is vented and insulated you can still have problems if you get the right combination of sun and cold.


cowlady    Posted 01-13-2004 at 09:54:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
See that little cabin pic in the top left corner of this site? That's our house, except the overhang (no gutters) is about 4 ft. Knock on log, we have never had a problem in 7 years!

The barn on the other hand....eave trough raised maple and oak seedlings for sale cheap! Free for those who come with a ladder, bird and squirrel nests given to the first 50 customers!


Thomas P. Mc Nulty    Posted 03-29-2004 at 12:41:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a problem with roof daming need advice


Lazy Al    Posted 01-12-2004 at 10:50:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
You are right vent vent vent . In this old two story house the ceilings up stairs go at an angle for a ways then flat across the middle . So the part that is angled is just four inches from the roof boards . No way to vent easy .
What I did was tear off all the roof shingles down to the boards . stripped it with 2x4's and put a new deck on then new shingles . at the eves I put the ventilated drip edge and peak ventalation plus vents in three gable ends it really helped with ice but I still get some . I just keep an eye on it and if it gets to bad I waits till a day thats above freezing and try and get it off .
Al


Willy-N    Posted 01-12-2004 at 10:35:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
I live in a real cold dry area. Our problem is blowing snow it will go into the vents on the eves and roof line and fill the attic with snow. I have to block the vents to stop this. Humidity is not a problem here but a attic full of snow is and several ceilings have came off the trusses in some homes around here. I heard about this happening in town and looked up in mine and there was piles of snow and I had to pick it up and bag it to get it out. I blocked the vents on the ridge and north side and solved the problem. If you leave your window just cracked a little it will fill the cars insides up too in the high winds light dusting snow. Mark H.


toolman    Posted 01-12-2004 at 10:52:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
a modular home dealer in souther alberta , was telling me about that happening there too , said thats why yhey don,t use the whirly birds because they were sucking the fine snow right through the eve vents into the attic,fortunately i don,t have that problem here.


toolman    Posted 01-12-2004 at 10:18:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
good advice mike , people can save thousands by taking it, i added whirly birds or whatever they are called, to mine when it was being buit, they draw alot of air through the vents, but will draw from the inside too if everything is not insulated and vapour barriered right, especially around light fixtures.


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