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Old 01-31-2014, 09:13 PM   #1
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ice dam in 70's home


I figure its the season ... might as well join in. Here's the damage so far:

http://imgur.com/a/rbrrx#0

This is at the basement right before the wood hits the foundation in my split level house...oy, the wood is soggy, I can pretty much push my finger through it.

It's been REALLY cold, then warm, then REALLY cold, then warm. I have never dealt with this before (first minnesota winter with a house).

I have been looking at my gutters, and just saw there's about 6-10 inches of ice built up....I plan on chizzeling it off tomorrow, but is there anything I can do about the damage?

It's only on the east side of the house, the N/W/S look OK from the ground level.

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Old 01-31-2014, 09:28 PM   #2
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ice dam in 70's home


That's only the visible damage, the water had to run down behind the siding to get there.
There may well be far more damage inside the wall by now.
Main thing is to prevent any more ice dams.
Ice dams are caused by lack of insulation and attic air sealing, lack of proper ventilation.
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...electedIndex=0
There may not be any ice and water shield at the bottom of the roof to keep the water out.
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...electedIndex=2

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Old 01-31-2014, 09:31 PM   #3
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oddly enough the house had very little insulation, so I blew 10 more inches added a bunch of baffles right before winter hit ... guess it didn't help ...when I ws blowing it, everything looked good, no previous water damage, but I was not looking hard.

Any good advice for breaking up the dam? I assume I have to get on top of my roof, shovel the 2 feet + of snow off and then star chizeling the ice off? Could I throw salt on top of the ice once I get closer to shingle?
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:48 PM   #4
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ice dam in 70's home


Got a picture of the roof?
If there's 2' of snow on the roof I'd be using a roof shovel from the ground unless it's a low slope roof.
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:51 PM   #5
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ice dam in 70's home


I can't reach it from the ground haha, but I can reach bits from the deck to pave a path then get up there.... if I fall it'll be into 5 feet of snow at about 1 story, so not worried, haha...I just don't want to damage the roof!

Would insurance buy me a new roof if there is any damage? haha...
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:29 AM   #6
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ice dam in 70's home


That is going to be a bunch of water if that is coming from the roof.

Are you seeing water on the first floor near the baseboard?

Any chance that is condensation? Doesn't appear to be but you would usually see some sort of moisture on the first floor as well.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:51 AM   #7
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ice dam in 70's home


I got a snow rack and moved 5-10 feet off the edge, damn that was a lot of snow.

I saw some water, looks to be near the exhaust/heat stack...i'll just make sure to remove the snow in the future when we get this much.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:55 AM   #8
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ice dam in 70's home


vivithe image -

Just getting rid of the excess snow cover will allow Mother Nature get to the ice dam,. Despite the temperatures, ever day there is more sun at a better angle and ice and snow does disappear (evaporate/transpirate) despite below zero temperatures. It takes time and diligence to remove any new snow cover.

I would not put any salt on the roof, but a little bite in the gutters will eventually open a path for drainage when the radiant sun heat goes through the ice and heats the roofing and melts a thin film that will drain if the gutter work. Dark gutter do wonders to keep open.

The frequent light snows (1-3") with dry, fluffy snow will not be a problem, but get things open a bit before the heavy late winter dumps with southern moisture come.

Dick
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:29 PM   #9
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ice dam in 70's home


right now I can't even get to the gutters! So I chipped away as much as I could reach, didn't want to get on the roof ... but there's still a big ol mass up there. Now that i've pulled the snow down, sun should be able to take care of it. We are to have highs of 15F for the entire week, so I shouldn't get any huge surprise floods, but i'll moinitor for sure.

I think the problem was the snow was so high .. 2-3 feet on the roof it actually covered the exhaust for the water heater, causing the snow to melt a bit, drag down the shingles, then ice up at the edge. It is only near those sections it is icing up too. The only thing I could think of to fix this would be to have higher stack ... which would be silly! I'll just remove the snow if it ever gets this high.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:54 AM   #10
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ice dam in 70's home


That house is going to have water inside the walls until you relieve hydro pressure by installing a heat cable from the ridge to the eave to melt a drainage channel in the ice down to bare shingles.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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I've heard heat cables aren't very good though?
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by vivithemage View Post
I've heard heat cables aren't very good though?
We hear a lot of things that aren't necessarily true and the information often comes from sources that just have a lack knowledge.

I would suspect in an ice dam climate there would be an electric company that will cut to length and install an industrial heat cable for you or it can be a DIY job with little instruction if necessary. It can be obtained in as little as 4 watts/ ft. If the internal structure damage possible is considered it shouldn't be a difficult decision to lay one length of cable from the ridge to the eaves.

Below is just one example of the many companies that sell heat cable.

http://www.heatersplus.com/products/cwm.html
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:21 AM   #13
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ice dam in 70's home


Do you have to pull those every season, or leave them up year round?
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:49 AM   #14
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Do you have to pull those every season, or leave them up year round?
I see no harm in leaving it year around. I know where there is some, which is industrial with the stainless sheath, that's been in service for 30 years in an outdoor environment. But as easy as one length would be to remove I wouldn't leave it if it was mine but that's just a personal preference.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:00 PM   #15
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ice dam in 70's home


I had to install heat cables for a valley situation (orientation, protection, exposure and drifting) that needed some drainage help. I did it just once because I was lazy and did not want to climb up every year a month or so later than I should have, so did it once and left it there for 10 years. A diagonal across the lower valley, into the guteer and a trailer down the downspout. No problem except for hiding portions and remembering to plug in and unplug. No other problem areas with the other gutters since I had good soffit vents and roof vents. I sold the home about 15 years ago and recently saw that it was still there, but who knows if it lasted 25 years.

Somehow, the cheap builders original shingles were still looking OK in most places, but really ready for replacement.

Dick


Last edited by concretemasonry; 02-03-2014 at 12:03 PM.
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