Ice issues


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Old 07-07-21, 08:18 PM
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Ice issues

Hello,

I live in NE Ohio, where the winters can be very snowy. I live in a house that is 80 years old. The previous owners had issues with ice dams. A roofer put down ice/water shield down on the decking 4 up from the eaves. I noticed last year that the snow was melting unevenly on the roof, which leads me to believe that the insulation needs to be replaced. The attic is half finished. There is a closet behind the front part of the roof that runs nearly the entire length. There is some kind of grayish insulation in there now that is held in place by some boards with holes in them. Behind the rear part of the roof is a bathroom and a bedroom. There is no ridge vent. I also noticed last year that ice formed behind the fascia board and down the brick on both sides of the house. A roofer is coming over to replace the fascia on the front of the house and adding snow guards.

Ive attached a couple pictures of the ice. With all of this information, do you have any suggestions about how I can resolve the issues with ice?

Thank you in advance.






 

Last edited by PJmax; 07-07-21 at 09:36 PM. Reason: resized pics
  #2  
Old 07-07-21, 08:31 PM
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Typically ice dams have nothing to do with your insulation or ventilation. And what I mean by that is that there is nothing you can DO to your insulation or ventilation to improve the situation. Old houses were not designed and built to the standards we have today, with tall energy heel trusses and soffit ventilation. You probably have maybe 4" between the top plate and the roof and that causes a lot of melting. Same could be said about the rafters... they are simply too small in older houses compared to today. When you have a heated bedroom upstairs where the ceiling is also the rafter, you will have a lot of ice dams. That's a design flaw.

People also turn attics into bedrooms, throwing conventional wisdom out the window. It wasn't built to be a bedroom if it was an attic to begin with. Not saying yours is like that, but some people do that, then wonder why it's so hot... or why it's so cold... or why they have ice dams.

You also have a weird roof design there where it looks like a couple valleys converge. That compounds the problem.

And nowadays people heat their houses much more than they did 80-100 years ago. People nowadays want their entire house to be 70F in the winter no matter how cold it is. Also compounds the problem.

Best thing you could possibly do is hire someone to scoop snow from your problem areas to keep them clear. Or get an electrician to install heating cables ALL OVER those problem areas. But be warned, those cables are expensive. Worth it though, if they prevent thousands of $$$ worth of damage from a ice dam and leak.
 
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Old 07-07-21, 09:03 PM
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Thank you for the fast response

You are correct about the two valleys converging. The roofer told me that the fascia there in particular was in bad shape.

I am wondering how well the ice/water guard that is down will protect against backed up water from being pushed down into the wall or wall cavity. I havent seemed to notice any water intrusion in the last three years. Even with this guard down, are there any other risks that Im incurring?

Thank you again.
 
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Old 07-07-21, 09:35 PM
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It's probably hard to do a "complete" job without tearing off a lot of stuff. Roofers don't typically get behind the gutter or replace fascia but to seal it up the best you need someone who will do it all.

Roofers often just lay ice and water to the edge of the roof. When actually, to prevent ice dams from causing water to back up behind the fascia and frieze board (that's the board that the ice is running out behind and out onto the bricks... that is a bad thing) the ice and water should really lap down a couple inches over the front edge of the fascia. That way water can never get behind the fascia. Otherwise ice dams fill the gutters, and melting ice/water can run up and over the top of the fascia, soaking the soffit and rafter tails, running back into the house, getting behind the brick, etc.

So if you can find a roofer/carpenter who can remove the gutter, replace the fascia and then ensure that the top half of the fascia is covered with ice and water, that will solve the thing that is most often overlooked. Problem is, some of the roof would probably have to come off to do that since it needs to be lapped shingle style.

Additionally that chimney would probably benefit from a cricket behind it and probably some kick out flashing to divert water into the gutters.

Show your roofer the photos of where the ice is getting behind the frieze boards.

You could also upgrade to 6" k style gutters with 3x4 downspouts. Those little 2x3 downspouts are worthless. Heat cables can be run in the gutters and downspouts to keep a drainage path clear. They also make offset elbows for the downspouts so that you would not need all those short kinked sections of downspout. A meticulous gutter guy could do a better job than what's there.
 
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Old 07-07-21, 10:03 PM
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Thank you once again

Thank you again so much for your time!

The roofer will be replacing the 4 /2x3 with 6 / 3x4. He did tell me that some additional carpentry work would be required, and it will be assessed once the gutters and fascia have been removed. He asked me if I was interested in putting gutter guards over the new gutters. They are the kind that screw directly onto the top of the gutter. I live in an area with large, mature, deciduous trees. Do you have an opinion on those?

I know the previous homeowners had a new saddle flashing put on the chimney. Is that the same thing as a cricket or kick out flashing?

Thank you again.
 
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Old 07-07-21, 10:21 PM
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I'm a big fan of gutter guards... the perforated kind that just screw onto the gutter. The best part is that you won't have a clogged downspout again with them. However they can still get covered with wet leaves unless the wind blows them off first. I typically have to go blow my folks gutters off a few times every fall if it's going to rain, just to prevent piles of wet soggy leaves from sitting there even longer. Easy to do on a 1 story house... and on a tall house you just have to look at it as being easier/less urgent than cleaning out the gutters, which is always a real pain.

A cricket diverts water to either side of the chimney , creating a valley on either side of it rather than the roof just angling down toward the chimney creating a spot where water and wet leaves can sit. Google chimney cricket then click on images.
 
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Old 07-07-21, 10:34 PM
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Thank you again

I appreciate all of your time this evening. It has been a pleasure learning all this stuff from you.

I will have the gutter guards installed. From Google, the flashing currently on the chimney accomplishes the purpose you stated. It is difficult to see in the picture.

The last thing I wanted to ask this evening was about snow guards. The roofer will be installing about 50 of them. The primary purpose is to prevent an avalanche coming down my steeply pitched slate roof. Do you see any ancillary benefits of them with regard to ice damming?

Thank you!
 
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Old 07-07-21, 10:59 PM
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I really have no experience with snow guards. Can't see your slate shingles in any of the photos, and it really doesn't look "that" steep compared to others. But I'm sure that if you have a history of getting "dumped on" that it probably wouldn't hurt. Supposedly there would be no advantage to having or not having a snow guard when it comes to ice dams. They "say" that snow guards don't cause ice dams, but realistically if the snow would all just slide off your roof in the first place, there wouldnt be any melting or ice either. So I'm not buying it.

I could see putting them over a front entry, patio or side door just for added safety.
 
 

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