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teej 03-02-2011 07:13 AM

Water leaks into attic and under soffit...
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I just bought this house 1 1/2 years ago and after the home inspection realized the roof was in bad shape (25yrs old, signs of leaks). I hired a contractor to put on a new roof, including shingles, gutters, flashing, vents and fans and replacing rotted plywood. Last winter it leaked into the attic and then into the house, through the light fixtures. He said it was ice damns. I since have been trying to figure out how to fix the problem. I read all I can about this and I think this forum is the best help yet. So, I have a well insulated attic, a ridge vent, vented metal soffits all the way around, two roof fans for moisture/heat, and ice shield the first 3 feet around the roof edge. The water is dripping into the attic above the ice/water shield. Even when i shovel off the roof after snow. It also is running down the brick in different spots after it rains. Contractor said the roof slope is not allowing the water to run off properly and its just a bad design. Any ideas?

dmc@RCR 03-02-2011 08:06 AM

First I would double check your attic to make sure the soffit vents are not blocked, the ridge vent is cut right, and you've insulated and closed off any air gaps in the ceiling.

Then I would suspect that your ridge vent is getting covered in snow and not working properly.

teej 03-02-2011 09:21 AM

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I have additional pics of the soffit and ridge vent that i can post, but the soffits are not obstructed and the ridge vents are cut threw to attic with cap on top, but do get covered in snow, and then it melts away after a day. I have fans that help air flow as well but I fear they are coming on and sucking more heat up out of the house than cold air from outside. Everyone has said that ice damns are caused by insufficient insulation and air flow, so am I stuck shoveling the roof of if the ridge vents get snowed over? The only heat source in the attic is the metal vent for the water heater. It is exposed for 3' and does get warm when the water heater comes on. can I frame it in and insulate that?

dmc@RCR 03-02-2011 11:15 AM

Upgrading those ridge vents to something with wind baffles might help the airflow. That style tends to get plugged with wind blown snow.

You might also consider installing gable end vents if you did not have them before.
A lot of roofers will close off the gable vents which results in more heat in the attic. Leading to ice dams and moisture issues in houses like yours.

housegsx 03-02-2011 12:39 PM

That last pics looks iffy. Make sure the lower sections of your roof don't have ridge vent too close to where they meet. (Like in your last picture) Heavy rain and snow melt can get in there if placed too close.

jod78 03-02-2011 03:08 PM

Attic fan with electric motor vented through roof - will create a vacuum pulling colder outside air up through soffit vents and eliminating an attic that is too warm. It would be worth consulting with an insulation professional too to make sure your attic is insulated properly. You said it was. I'm not suggesting you don't know what you're talking about there, but if you aren't 100% certain, consult with someone.

I would look at your gutters too. Those will get packed with snow and will freeze up. The gutter will be the last thing to melt - at least it is on my house. I got some PVC gutter screens at Lowes - problem solved. The snow will build up on top of those screens, but the gutters will remain clear and free of ice. The screens withstand the weight of the snow just fine - at least 6" of snow they have. We dont get tons here.

teej 03-03-2011 05:58 AM

The ridge vents do go right up to the ends on all the peaks, with some sealant over the end caps I guess for good measure. It is a good point about moisture getting in there because during the thaw I saw droplets in the ridge vent in some places but could not find water in the attic at the ridge vents. I do need to get gutter shields for all the debris and I have been out there every day with socks and salt which is ridiculous. I am in PITTSBURGH PA, so we get enough snow to worry about this.
The insulation is throughout the attic between every beam and is 12" thick. I don't know the R value. An insulation guy is probably a good idea since they deal with this problem along with roofers all winter long.
I am just shocked that the new roof is letting water in. The previous owner had the house for 25yrs and there are noticeable signs of water leaking in the same exact places so thats why we got the new roof with ice shield along base.
The water running down the brick in the original post is from water getting behind the gutters or is that from the water on the sheathing?

tinner666 03-04-2011 03:03 PM

Ice shield would have helped. Your statement "ice shield the first 3 feet around the roof edge." tells me that you don't have enough to do any good. It's supposed to extend 2-4' inside the living space, not just 3' from the eave.

That said, I shorten my exposure on low pitched like that in snow counrty, irregardless that the manufacturers say the miracle underlays preclude the necessity. That would increase the headlap for more protection. And, shingles aren't close to waterproof. They are now water resistant.

teej 03-04-2011 05:24 PM

Tinner, I totally wish I would have known then what i know now because I think you hit the nail on the head. It seems my roofers just put on the shingles like they would any other roof without taking all these things into consideration. If I have to do it over I think ice shield the whole way up and then not splurge on the most expensive dimensional shingles. I was told to get an insulation company to check the attic so i guess thats the next step. The only heat source is the water heater vent that is exposed in the attic and it is warm around it. Other than that, I'm getting thermometers to see if it is in fact staying cold enough to not thaw the snow in the winter and be as proactive as possible.

tinner666 03-04-2011 06:06 PM

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I quit using shingles except when i can't get out of it. I've found many leaks in the middle of the field and no damaged shingles.

When you look at these pix, you'll see how they lay together. Water gets in the joints and sometimes leak through the shingles. There is only 2" of shingle above the closed part of the joint. Water backs up 2" and it's on the felt. I asked the manufacturers about lapping the shinlges, They said it was OK and no different than lapping a valley. If a person likes a lumpy, dimensional roof, I'll lap them as much as 6". Only over the thinnest portion of the shingles. My whole roof is done this way, as are many low pitched roofs that routinely get 24" snowfalls.

The last pic is of my 14 year old 50 year shingle roof. It's also Dutch-lapped. Looks like a shake roof from 50' away.

tinner666 03-04-2011 06:08 PM

The techniques harken back to the days when there was no felt, and no Ice and Water shield. I figure it will still work today and maybe the miracle underlay won't have to do any of the work.

tinner666 03-04-2011 06:21 PM

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I was looking for these. Chasing leaks on a roof. Disregard the tear. You're looking at water stain in shingle joint. It drizzled some the night before.
Second is a close-up. No damage. Held up to the sunlight, no light could be seen through the shingles either.
3rd. Back of the shingle.

tinner666 03-04-2011 06:26 PM

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More. The felt looked like this behind every joint on the roof. THat's after 1/2 hour of drizzle. Leaked bad in rain. Roof 10 years old. Found the same thing on some with 12/12 pitch and roofs were 1-4 years old before the leaks started.

Wrong pic inserted. Sorry.

tinner666 03-04-2011 06:30 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Try this one.

handy man88 03-04-2011 10:03 PM

You've got at least two issues here. One with snow, one with rain.

For the snow, with your low pitch roof, I would recommend heat cables along the edge of the roof and into the gutter and downspout. This will prevent ice damming. You do not want a gutter helmet to prevent ice damming because all that water will instead drop alongside your foundation.

Your next issue is to find the leak that is causing rain water to run along the brick. You may want to consider installing a drip edge along the roof, or have larger gutters and downspout to ensure water moves faster. Water can get backed up when there's a direct channel fed flow into the gutter.

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