Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Help! Heavy Snow, Iced-up Gutter, Leak in windows
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Help! Heavy Snow, Iced-up Gutter, Leak in windows

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Trying for some heating tape first. Fingers crossed.

Re: Help! Heavy Snow, Iced-up Gutter, Leak in windows

The condition you describe sounds like the classic case of a roof ICE DAM.

Roof ice dams are caused by too much heat in the attic, which causes the upper portions of the roof to heat up, & melt the exterior ice & snow; it then flows down to the eaves near the gutters, where the roof deck is colder, & quickly freezes & builds up; during the next thaw cycle the built-up ice/snow forces the water under the shingle tabs & if there is no water proof membrane, the water will find several nail holes & leak into the house interior, especially into wall cavties, & usually drip thru a window top into the house.

The ultimate cure for ice dams is to keep a cold attic by leaving vents open & make sure you have adequate floor insulation in the attic (R40).

For an immediate remedy,to stop the leakage into the house, if you have easy access to the roof eaves by ladder, take a hoe & try to pull down off the roof eaves as much ice/snow as you can, making paths & channels without damaging the shingles, so that the melting ice/snow has a pathway to drip down to the gutters, or over the side of the roof.

Also Google "preventing roof ice dams".

Re: Help! Heavy Snow, Iced-up Gutter, Leak in windows

good response dod.

first mend would be to add more insulation at the eaves and overall in the attic. from there strip the first 4 feet of the roof then add ice and water shield, reshingle.

after that start adding gable end vents or perforated soffit, plus ridge vent

Re: Help! Heavy Snow, Iced-up Gutter, Leak in windows

Well, the odd thing is, there wasn't really any ice at the roof edge, just in the gutter (which was almost 2 inches over the top of the gutter.) I cleared out the gutters and downspouts just a couple of weeks ago and can verify they were clear too. We have ice dams elsewhere, but that portion of the roof is rolled roofing with an ice/moisture barrier under it and has never caused a problem.

Our contractor came this morning and suggested we remove the gutter entirely for now, which we did -- including about 500 lbs of ice in it. Ice had been pushing its way up under the drip edge and behind the siding. After clearing off several hundred pounds of snow, he then installed a run of heating cable zig-zagging along the roof edge, with a return run dangling against the fascia to discourage icicle formation.

The windows stopped leaking for now. We'll see how it goes when the next big storm hits later this weekend (potentially calling for an additional 18 - 24 inches). In the spring, it'll be a new gutter and less ad-hoc heat cabling, I think. Here's hoping this works for now.

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