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Grumpy 02-02-2004 05:56 PM

Are you having ice problems?
Many many homes have ice problems in the winter time. From ice damning to condensation, you can really go nuts! How can you prevent these problems from occurring? The answer is protection, ventilation and insulation.

Many of the homes today have become "tighter". This means they don't breathe as well. Windows and doors seal better than in the past. Homes are much more energy efficient, and this is all well and good; however if your attic doesn't have the proper ventilation and insulation to handle the energy efficiency your going to have problems.

The average human family can put a gallon or more of moisture into the air. This comes from our own breath and perspiration. The moisture build up also happens from cooking and bathing. All this moisture can build in the attic if you don't have the proper ventilation. The necessary ventilation depends heavily on the style of home you have. If the moisture can't escape it will condense. In the winter it will freeze, and at the first thaw it will melt. The melted condensation will make it appear as if your roof is leaking. This can damage insulation, framing, walls, ceilings, electrical fixtures or even cause mold issues.

Condensation is only one half of the problem. Ice damns can be a terrible cancer to your home. There are many ways to prevent Ice damns from occurring. One way is a premium roofing underlayment, but this can only be installed if removing the shingles. If you have had ice problems in the past and are replacing your roof, insist on some kind of ice shield.

The other cures, to ice damning, is ventilation and insulation. Your attic space shouldn't be much warmer than the outside, no matter what time of the year! You should insulate the attic floor as well as possible. This will prevent the hot air from escaping into the attic. In addition to the insulation, you must have proper ventilation. The ventilation will allow any hot air to escape.

Why do you want the hot air to escape? Why don't you want your attic to be warm? If the underside of your roof is warm, and the outside of the roof has snow and ice sitting on top of it, the warmth will cause the snow to melt but it will have nowhere to go. The trapped water then freezes at night and PUSH up under the shingles. When the ice pushes under the shingles, if there is no ice shield or protection it will make its way inside your home and cause a nasty leak. This leak can and will cause the same problems as a condensation thaw.

For more information on ice shields you may go to or For more information on insulation and ventilation you may go to or Please never go on a snowy or ice roof, as it is VERY easy to slip and fall!

eddiemac 12-20-2004 10:13 PM

I recently had a roof installed on my house. I had the ice & water shield on the first three feet, as well as a ridge vent. I kept the existing gable vent and fan on a thermostat. I had 30 year architectural shingles put on. Anything else I should have done?

Grumpy 12-22-2004 05:01 PM

Well there is your problem. you are over ventilated!!!

ridge vent should not be mixed with other ventilation systems especially gable vents and attic fans and you mixed both!

Your roofer should be shot.

jmorgan 02-09-2005 09:20 PM

I know from all of the ridge vent guys that you are not supposed to mix systems. But, can you really "overventillate". I thought, the more the better? I thought the reason not to mix different ventillation types is that the net amount of venting could be less, as the systems mixed are not working as they were designed to do and could interfere with each other.

My hay loft over my warm (barely) barn has completely open gable ends (except for bales of hay) & with no insulation.....this roof has almost no snowmelt when compared to the main house, garage & workshop roofs. The latter roofs develop ice dams every year....but none on this barn. It must be overventillated with no walls on the gable ends.

Grumpy 02-10-2005 09:22 AM

No you can't really over ventilate unless you start mixing ventilation systems together.

Keep in mind the more ventilation you have, the more insulation you are going to want.

AaronB 02-14-2005 10:51 AM

I do not agree completely with Grumpy's last statement. I see it as you need adequate insulation to retain your atrificial climate, regardless of amount of ventilation. You need ventilation to release the warm moist air that does get lost (no matter how much insulation you have, you WILL lose heat). More ventilation doesnt mean more insulation.

More ventilation will result in less condensation on the underside of the roof deck, regardless of the amount of insulation. Less insulation will mean more heat loss and thusly, more ventilation will be needed, but more ventilation will not cause more heat loss than is already present. You should not look at it as if heat retention (in attic) will require less insulation or vice versa. They are two separate issues that must co exist and be dealt with in order to reduce ice damming and moisture condensation on the underside of the roof deck.

I hope I have conveyed this properly.

Grumpy 02-14-2005 02:34 PM

Aaron, the more ventilation you have to more hot air will escape and most people don't have enough insulation... so when they increase their ventilation to what's adequate, they might notice a noticeable difference in the heat loss.

Glasshousebltr 02-14-2005 06:34 PM

I agree one hundred percent with Grump. My first wife had massive head ventilation and nothing but hot air came out of her mouth.


AaronB 02-18-2005 02:49 PM

Bob :).

Grumpy, I see.

If they are under-insulated, they are under-insulated. If they are properly insulated, additional ventilation will not hurt them. This is what I was trying to say.

Teetorbilt 02-18-2005 10:56 PM

If I could figure out how to post the !@#$%^&*()_++_)(*&^%$# pics. I'd like to post my current problem.
The house that I just picked up is the same as mine, gable, ridge and tiny soffit vents yet neither show any damage. The new one is 1/2" on 24's and is showing saddles.
Grumpy, I e-mailed you the pics, did you get them?

Grumpy 02-21-2005 01:42 PM

Aaron I guess if you put it that way, I do agree with you. I understood differently in your original post.

Teetor call me and I will try to walk you through it. 847-729-3496

AaronB 02-22-2005 01:29 PM

Grumpy, ;)

CGofMP 02-23-2005 11:30 PM

Tetor you are such a help to everyone that I'd be happy to give back a little bit to you.

Send me your pics and I will post them for a month or so on my website for ya.

I'll even throw in a tutorial of how to post pics so people can see them here.


Two Brothers Construction 03-13-2005 07:44 PM

I have the condensation in my home. I have lived here for 4 years and now it just started. I have good insulation in attic. The house is only 14 years old. Help....

Teetorbilt 03-13-2005 08:59 PM

Thanks CG, I may take you up on that. I'll have to go take some lower resolution pics. Wish that I had my old photoshop back, Kodak's program leaves much to be desired.

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