Hot Topics: Icicles, Icicles, Icicles

Icicles hang from the eaves on a cold winter morning.

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What happens when it starts to warm up, but winter isn’t over? Water thaws and freezes, thaws and freezes, and if things aren’t working right, you get icicles big enough to keep you from opening your door. One poster turned to the forum for what he thought was a roofing problem, but the other members followed the clues to another source.

Original Post: Water getting underneath roof and ice forming under overhang

Moebean Member

All - I have no idea why this is happening but it is causing much stress on parts of the siding and has led to so much pressure build-up that I cannot open the front door. This is a ranch home I bought 5 months ago; roof is new, about 6 months old. Was the new roof/shingles/drip edge not done correctly? When a new roof is done is the roofer typically responsible for the correct installation of the drip edge, if that is what it is?

Thanks for any advice anyone can offer me! ~Moe

Highlights from the Thread:

XSleeper Member

I am wondering if this may not be an ice dam or a roofing problem at all. Is there a lot of ice and snow on the roof or not?

The icicles are BEHIND the fascia. This appears to be a problem where frost and ice are accumulating on the bottom of the roof sheathing, then melting (when it gets warm enough in the attic to melt) and the water is running down the sheathing and rafters until it hits the fascia where it drips out.

You might want to go in your attic and examine the bottom of the roof and see if you have ice inside the attic, where it is, and try and figure out why it's happening. Tell us what sort of attic ventilation you have (soffit/continuous ridge?) and whether or not you have bath fans or dryer vents venting into the attic or if they are ducted clear outside. Attic insulation and unsealed penetrations (vent pipes, electrical wires, etc.) coming up through partitions can vent warm moist air right into a cold attic. A lack of ventilation can trap that moist air causing big problems.

Moebean Member

Thanks X for your quick reply. Much appreciated!

Well your assessment does make sense as I have no attic and the only ventilation is the small round circles you can see in the second to last image. So perhaps this has been an ongoing issue and the previous owners failed to disclose it? What would be my options of solving this? Better insulation throughout the interior of the house so that heat is not seeping and melting trapped moisture/ice? Or somehow trying to figure out a better ventilation system for the small space between the ceiling and the roof? ~Moe

XSleeper Member

So a low pitch roof with the 3 or 4 inch round soffit vents... is that a cathedral ceiling inside? Or does it have a flat ceiling and you're just saying that there is no access to the area between the ceiling joists and the rafters?

Moebean Member

I have a modest home, I would not call them cathedral ceilings but there is probably 1 foot between the interior ceiling and the exterior roof/shingles. So no access to ceiling joists or rafters, unless we pull the ceiling down, which I am not eager to do as that was part of our negotiating the sale of the house, they re-did all the ceilings! Thanks again for you input! ~Moe

XSleeper Member

Yeah that's called a cathedral ceiling, when the drywall is hung directly on the rafters. They often have ventilation and moisture issues. I was in a house once where water would run out of the windows below the ceiling pitch like the trickle from a faucet. I'm not as up on this as Bud is, so maybe he'll be along to offer you some specific advice.

Bud9051 Member

I'm here,
I read through the thread and it looks to me like an inside job, although I have seen water follow the drip edge back to the fascia board. How the water would be getting behind the fascia I don't know as yet.

A frequent symptom of moisture freezing on the bottom of the roof and melting is the timing. It usually occurs after a warm spell. Ice dams form after a lot of snow and those 25 to 32 degree temperatures that allow melting under the snow but freezing as soon as it exits near the edge. Since I don't see a lot of snow/ice on the roof, there doesn't appear to have been enough "snow insulation" to create the melting.

Moebean Member

Well I think I've got a handle on it, much appreciate all of your good advice and feedback.

Bud9051 Member

At least you know where the problem is now. Good luck and we are always here.


Find out what to do about un-insulated recessed lighting and the little river running in Moebean’s basement at: //