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Old 02-08-2011, 07:32 AM   #1
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flat roof with iced up gutters


I work at a school that has multi level flat roofing with six inch gutters about an inch below the roof line. My problem is they are totally iced up above the roof line and down the drain spouts causing water to back up and come in my ceilings in the classrooms. This happens every year. I`m the new head custodian here how do I prevent this or fix it now that it is already leaking

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Old 02-08-2011, 10:17 AM   #2
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flat roof with iced up gutters


You need a setup or system of roof heating cables including some that run lengthwise through the gutters and some that go down through the downspouts.

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Old 02-08-2011, 10:19 AM   #3
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flat roof with iced up gutters


Fill nylon stockings with rock salt and put them along the edge of the roof to melt the dam..........
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:45 AM   #4
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The ice melt will help the problem now. Heat tape will never let them freeze up again. Contact someone who has installed them before. Use a high quality heat cable. Also another thing you can do is have someone install open face down spouts. that way the ice can not build up in the down spouts.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:12 PM   #5
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Also another thing you can do is have someone install open face down spouts. that way the ice can not build up in the down spouts.
This does absolutely nothing to prevent it. I've got some very impressive pictures disproving this except I'm on vacation right now and they are at home. One of the ds's was encased in easily two feet of ice all 18' of the downspout. All five were minimum 16" diameter from ground to scupper.

A properly installed, quality heat cable system is your best bet for now.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:50 AM   #6
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This does absolutely nothing to prevent it. I've got some very impressive pictures disproving this except I'm on vacation right now and they are at home. One of the ds's was encased in easily two feet of ice all 18' of the downspout. All five were minimum 16" diameter from ground to scupper.

A properly installed, quality heat cable system is your best bet for now.
Take a look at that same down spout but its closed face, that much water wouldnt have went down it so you would have had more of a build up on the roof, or a blown up downspout. So think about it a little more, it does help. Once the downspout gets backed up it can spill out of the front. After to long it will be a ball of ice, if you have a closed down spout the water will back up under the roof or on top of the roof. Then hang over the gutter. This could do more damage. nevermind the fact that your closed face downspouts will be split. I have seen this time and time again. I too have pictures of open face downspouts with ice build up. I have pictures of 6" round downspouts with seams that are 2" wide open because of ice build up. So yes it does help.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:28 AM   #7
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I understand and agree with the theory on it gt. About the only real-world benefit I've seen from them is, like you said, it saves the ds from splitting out. Other than that the open face allows the ice to continue to build up like a huge frozen waterfall. They make really cool pictures though.
Truth is, if all you have are through-wall scuppers for drainage a properly maintained heat cable system is an absolute must in cold wet climates.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:56 AM   #8
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It also could save your gutters and roofing, but it all just depends on the conditions. Open face D/S are great for problem areas where leaves clog up regular D/S. I agree the best bet is a heat cable system. We have installed alot of these in our area. Most on metal roofs with gutters. Most style of roofs can benifit from this, if ice and snow build up are a problem. They do tend to get expensive though. The brand we use is Reychem. Only problem we have had is one of the GFCI controlers went bad from getting wet. Other then that never had a problem. Even had one we had installed 3-4 years ago get cut, I am guessing it was the power company because it was near where the power comes into the building. They spliced it with wire nuts and electric tape. A big no no in wet conditions. We were able to resplice it, the right way and has not had a problem so far.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:03 AM   #9
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Sorry to double post but your pretty picture comment made me think of this high end house we worked on. On the front of the house they wanted to hang a chain from the roof drains so it would look pretty when the water was running down and ice was forming. We had to beef the framing up to support the drains and the weight they were going to hold. They used this brass chain that went down to a drain in the ground. It all looked pretty cool I went on the roof to do a final inspection to make sure none of the other trade damaged the roofing. Only to find out they hung the chains by a thick fencing wire from the cast iron strainers. Really? What was the point of beefing up the framing under the drains then? I bet it looked great till it built up about 6" of ice on them. Maybe they were self cleaning get too much ice they fall and clear them, I dont see the home owner going up and reattaching them though.
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:49 PM   #10
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Here is the answer to your problem:

http://www.comfortradiant.com/roof-deicing.php

Scroll down to the bottom of the page. It's called Zmesh
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:34 PM   #11
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Here is the answer to your problem:

http://www.comfortradiant.com/roof-deicing.php

Scroll down to the bottom of the page. It's called Zmesh

So tear off roof and reinstall to beable to use your zmesh, or install a heat cable system. Guess what one is going to sell.
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:59 PM   #12
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It depends on your ability to know your client and their willingness to spend the money to actually fix the problem. Zmesh definitly ain't cheap but it WILL fix it and last 25 years.

You won't have to remove the membrane (remember, it's a flat roof), just staple the zmesh over the existing membrane, install a 1/8 or 1/4" densdeck, cement board or plywood and membrane over the top.

You will still need cable in the gutters to keep it flowing to the ground but this is the fix, not a band-aid that sliding snow and ice can be ripped off the roof.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by warmsmeallup View Post
It depends on your ability to know your client and their willingness to spend the money to actually fix the problem. Zmesh definitly ain't cheap but it WILL fix it and last 25 years.

You won't have to remove the membrane (remember, it's a flat roof), just staple the zmesh over the existing membrane, install a 1/8 or 1/4" densdeck, cement board or plywood and membrane over the top.

You will still need cable in the gutters to keep it flowing to the ground but this is the fix, not a band-aid that sliding snow and ice can be ripped off the roof.

Say what?!?! You want to build up the gutter edge of a flat roof 1/8 to 1/2" then membrane over the top? Ever seen anyone put a EPDM sheet over and existing EPDM sheet? Can you say condensation? So you can forget any adheasive, the plywood would be shot, fiberboards wouldnt last a year, cement board maybe I wouldnt risk it. let alone you would have a back water seam. How's that copper? mesh stand up to condensation? I have never seen a heat tape ripped off of a low slope flat roof. Metal roofs yes. Anything under 1:12, well that just means it wasnt installed properly.

Now this mess is interesting, Would be a great add on to a reroof project, how does it work? Forgive me as I got lost in your web site. Is it electric? So then you have some kind of pitch pocket for a outlet and what not. Then there is the what if factor. What if the roof leaks what happens to this mesh? So you can screw right through it as long as you dont do it in to a metal deck? Whats the cost? Is it a mesh roll that you can splice the power connection too? I am half way interested in it. I have never seen anything like it in this area. Most of us are old school and dont like change much. What about with BUR roofs? I assume you mechanically attach the ISO lay the mat, densdeck, then mop on your roof? How hot does it get? Is it even safe to use against a fiberboard? I mean it would have to become fairly warm to transfer heat through it. It looks like it would be nice under wood floors, but then i would hate to have a short!
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:43 AM   #14
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Most of us are old school and dont like change much.
Therein lies the real problem!

Zmesh is low voltage electric and it's made of bronze screen. Bronze doesn't deteriorate around moisture. If it's seeing a short, there are safeties built in to shut the system down however, if there is moisture, you have a bigger problem.

You don't add the membrane ONLY over the zmesh. Again, we're not looking for the band-aid effect. We're fixing the problem. Only when it's being installed under new shingles can just the area being heated, the drip edge up, be removed and re-shingled. Your client wouldn't like to see the difference between 10 year old faded shingles and new ones.

Yes, nail, screw, glue or adhere it down, no problem. As you said, just don't nail through it and any other metal.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by warmsmeallup View Post
Therein lies the real problem!

Zmesh is low voltage electric and it's made of bronze screen. Bronze doesn't deteriorate around moisture. If it's seeing a short, there are safeties built in to shut the system down however, if there is moisture, you have a bigger problem.

You don't add the membrane ONLY over the zmesh. Again, we're not looking for the band-aid effect. We're fixing the problem. Only when it's being installed under new shingles can just the area being heated, the drip edge up, be removed and re-shingled. Your client wouldn't like to see the difference between 10 year old faded shingles and new ones.

Yes, nail, screw, glue or adhere it down, no problem. As you said, just don't nail through it and any other metal.
Your adding a coverboard of some type over and existing membrane. Thats going to create a problem. I can tell you havent layed much roofing in your life if you dont think someone can see the difference between 10 year old shingles and new ones. They will stick out like a sore thumb. If you can get that color/style any more. Why do you think that shingle wrapers have batch #'s on them? Its because the color/granual paterns can change from batch to batch. I guess you didnt read my post well if you thought I said put a membrane right over a membrane. I also listed the reasons why membrane over fiberboard, plywood, and other materials wouldnt be the best idea in the world.

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