DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Roofing and Siding (
-   -   Roof leaks in winter (

JayGrimm 08-20-2013 05:57 AM

Roof leaks in winter
Hi, am looking for suggestions to my problem.

My house is a typical New England cape with a steep roof incline (about 45). I had a new roof installed 5 years ago. It was not laid down over the old roof, it was stripped off completely first. During last couple winters, I had issues with water seepage through the roof about 1 foot up from the eaves. This only happens on the north side of the house (no sun) and happens after 3-4 inches or more of snowfall, and doesnt begin until a day or so later. I understand the problems of ice dams, but this seems to happen even before it freezes, or at least freezes solidly.

I started using a snow roof rake after each storm last year which has helped. The rake was only long enough to reach halfway up my roof, but since the water leakage was only within a foot from the eaves, it was good enough to prevent the problem. However, after the big blizzard that dumped over 24" on us last year, removing the snow that far up wasnt good enough as water start leaking through the roof at that half way up mark. In other words, right at the level of the snow build up that the roof rake could not reach. This was the only time it ever leaked that high up.

Could there be anything wrong with the roof installation to cause this problem? I had one person tell me that there should have been a membrane layer put down (there may have been, I dont know), and they either didnt install it properly, or at all. But I also read online that a membrane layer is usually only used on flat roofs where standing water exists.

Would de-icing cables help my problem? My concern about a de-icing cable though are: If I used one and it didnt sufficiently work, I could have difficulty using the roof rake again. It might damage the shingles the de-icing cable clips were attached to.

I wanted to call the roofing company that did this job but I dont think they are in business anymore. Not sure how to proceed on this.

nealtw 08-20-2013 06:19 AM

Welcome to the site. Ice dams a caused when there is not enough insulation and air ventulation just below the roof deck. Tar paper, or other products under the shingles is a membrane that is a secondary protection from water, different than a membrane on a flat roof. Do you have rooms in the attic?

WindowsonWashington 08-20-2013 06:46 AM


Ice dams are your issue.

Air seal and insulate for the sake of efficiency. Stopping the Ice dams is just an added bonus.

Take a critical look at your ventilation as well.

JayGrimm 08-20-2013 07:05 AM

Thank you for both your quick reply. I do have rooms upstairs as well as crawl spaces. The water seepage is in these crawl spaces. I uploaded a diagram to the site for clarification.

I have tried to deal with the issue of insulation & ventilation already. I have made sure there is no breach in any of the insulation laid down in the crawl spaces over the first floor as well as against the walls of the 2nd floor. However ventilation is a problem. This roof, being a fairly old cape, has almost *no* overhang of the eaves. So I have no easy way to get ventilation in under present conditions

JayGrimm 08-20-2013 07:18 AM

About the only thing I could think of to do last winter for the ventilation issue is to connect the bathroom ceiling fan to a window via a hose and blow outside air into the crawl space to keep the temperature there as low as I could. Crude I suppose, but thought it was worth a try. I still had the water problem though.

WindowsonWashington 08-20-2013 07:40 AM

They are called kneewalls.

Google Kneewall insulation and ice dam and you will probably find everything that you need.

nealtw 08-20-2013 05:44 PM

1 Attachment(s)
You may want to look at drip edge venting. It come in a few shapes maybe you can make one work for you. The outside wall is the ussual bad guy then you need a gap between the insulation and the sloped roof and good venting at the top. I'm not sure added the fan is a good idea as you need good air flow over the outside wall and the ceiling the fan will just form a jet of air to the nearest place it can get out and may evan disturb what nateral air flow you have now.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:56 AM.