DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Roofing and Siding (
-   -   early signs of ice damming? (

newhomeguy 01-08-2009 05:18 PM

early signs of ice damming?
Hi. what are the early signs of ice damming. I am in Niagara Falls area. I have some vapour barrier in my attic is pretty inuslated...
my downspouts are frozen (water at the bottom) was a cold day..about -5'C...I don't know what that is in F...maybe 20? thanks

inspectorD 01-08-2009 05:27 PM

Unless it is coming into the attic space or down a wall, it may be ok. Try Paul Fissetts article, he writes for the journal of light construction.
Follow the link, I think it will help.Preventing Ice Dams - Publications - BM&WT - UMass Amherst

newhomeguy 01-08-2009 05:29 PM

Hi there..thanks for the quick reply...the sun was shining (in its zenith) at that point...I looked at the other roofs inthe neighbourhood that had the similar pitch as mine...same sort of "meltage" on that corner...although I was worred about the frozen downspout...why would water freeze in there? in frozen solid? does that mean there was snow in there? or actual running water which flash froze?

inspectorD 01-08-2009 05:32 PM

When you read the article ,you'll get a better answer. Basically your heating the outside, the snow melts and makes it to the gutter where it is flash frozen.This causes ice, large amounts of it will eventually back up. The article coveres ways to avoid it.
Good luck, you just happened to catch me signing in.:)

jaros bros. 01-15-2009 04:17 PM

You said that you have good insulation in the attic. In your area I'm assuming that you mean about R-50. In addition, do your trusses have an energy heel? An energy heel basically lifts the trusses up to accomodate sufficient insulation between the truss and the plate where they intersect. Do you have wind washing of any type in the soffits? If you don't, your insulation is convecting when there's even a slight breeze or maybe has even blown the insulation away. In addition, do you have soffit venting and ridge venting that allows the heat that does escape to go out and not build up. Lastly, have the penetrations that enter the attic been sealed properly. Air leaks contribute to a majority of heat loss and ice damage. One such penetration is your attic access. If all this is done and you still have ice building up it is because you live in the NE and there is always the freeze thaw cycle going on there.

Josh Jaros (Jaros Bros. Construction)

handyguys 01-16-2009 09:08 AM

Essentially a sign that you may have an ice dam problem in the future is that the snow on your roof melts before the snow on the grass or snow on a roof above an unheated porch or something. That's a quick indication that the heat from your home is accelerating the melting.

Ice in the gutters and downspouts is the start of an ice dam. if you have a fast thaw then it wont be an issue. If you continue to melt the snow on the roof without a place for the water to go then eventually you will have an ice dam.

mudmixer 01-16-2009 08:03 PM

If you are really concerned, use a snow puller to get the excess snow off and give the sun a chance to work for you. Even in cold weather ice can dissapear by the process of sublimation, which is similar to evaporation (just from solid to vapor0. It also reduces the amount of snow to melt and drain off.

It really works much better than heat tapes and you only do it after a substantial snowfall. At this time of the year, the sun is very powerful in terms of radiant heat unless you are in an area with a lot of thick clouds.

Quattro 01-20-2009 09:47 AM

I agree with mudmixer. The use of a roof rake, if only in the valleys, is a great way to keep ice dams from forming. Of course, if you have a two story house, this becomes a little more difficult to do, but not impossible. Many roof rakes comes with extensions of up to 25 feet. And really you only need to get the bottom 3 or 4 feet of snow cleared for it to be effective.

Sublimation FTW!

whyme 02-18-2009 06:26 PM

boy thats really interesting, things will get better

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:44 AM.