Ice Dam(n)s

December 31, 2009

I wish I had taken pictures. Christmas Eve found my brother, my dad, and myself on the roof, in the rain, armed with a shovel, an ice blade, a tank of propane, and, essentially, a flamethrower.

But how did we get there? (this is not my beautiful house…)

Getting ready for church on the previous Sunday, my wife let me know we had water leaking through the light fixture in the baby’s room. Water inside the house is never a good thing, but water in the winter is a particularly frustrating thing. You know, cause it’s really cold out an all. Regardless, I spent the day going up on the roof, shoveling off snow, and discovering ice dams. I climbed up in our attic and searched for a hole in the roof but things were clear. I did, however, find the water pooled under our insulation between a couple joists right above the baby’s room, water that found a way down in the light fixture.

Once the back of roof was cleaned off, the water slowed down and stopped, and things seemed good. I figured I’d just need to keep shoveling the roof, etc.

Two days later, another warm day, and we found water leaking in our kitchen. I shovelled off the other half of the roof, and it dried up. I noted the ice dams were getting thicker on the roof. I discovered that above the walk-in closet (that was added on) there was ice that was about 7 inches thick. I am not making this up. The water would flow down the roof and pool behind the ice…and flow back up underneath my shingles.

Did I mention I wish I had taken pictures?

My brother arrived in town for the holidays, and it snowed. Having mentioned the ice and water, he and my dad volunteered to help me shovel off the roof.

Once they arrived and saw what we were dealing with, it was determined we had to get rid of the ice, or it would just keep piling up all winter. Which brings us back to the rain, the shovel, the blade, and the flamethrower. The weather was in our favor that day, raining and sleeting in the midst of December. We were able to slightly melt some ice and get water running off the roof to melt underneath it and break the seal to the roof. It still took lots of chopping and flaming and scraping. I’m wondering how much damage we did to the shingles while up there.

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2 Responses to “Ice Dam(n)s”

  1. russ Says:

    Bummer about the ice man! My bro has problems with ice dams as well and talks about putting salt in pantyhose. Not sure how it all works, I’d google it, but it might help you out. Rock On!

  2. aaron Says:

    We actually did do the pantyhose trick (well, we got some mesh fabric and “rolled our own”). You put them perpendicular to the end of the roof and they melt ‘channels’ in the ice.

    Well, and two days later we blew insulation in the attic, too.


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