Dang Those Ice Dams!

By Russ Marsan – March 6, 2015

Ice Dams Leaky Roof Carpenter & Costin Rutland Vermont

A severe case of ice dams has resulted in thick icicles nearly covering all the windows on the south side of this home.

I think we can all agree this has been a brutal winter by all accounts. OK, maybe we don’t have it as bad as the good folks of Boston, thanks to our well-equipped plowing services and for many other reasons we love living in Vermont.. but let’s just say we’ve had a rough go of it, for sure.

Extended periods of bitter cold, many snowfalls with no thaws in between and overcast days with little sun to help melt snow slowly have created the perfect storm for leaky roofs. This combination of conditions has created the worst ice dams and interior water leaks that we’ve seen around Vermont in quite some time. I hate to say it, but without roof raking, trouble is coming soon to a roof near you, so get your buckets ready to become your new living room furniture!

Ice dams cause ceiling leaks

Close up of thick icicles showing where ice has created a dam & is sending water under shingles, leaking inside house

Does your roof look like this?

Seriously, if your roof looks like these pictures, you may be sitting on a big headache just waiting to happen. These pictures were taken on March 6th, 2015 in Killington. Serious ice dams formed near the chimney on the north facing slope of this home in Killington, VT.

What happens with ice dams is that the “cold edge” of your roof—where it overhangs in the air—refreezes melting snow which melts from the bottom up, under the snow. This is caused by heat loss through your roof. (Many homes have some heat loss through the roof, but that’s a story for another day.) This little bit of melt runs down the roof and freezes up as the water hits the edge that hangs out in the cold. It freezes there and builds up a little bit each day until it slants back toward the roof, sending water back up under your shingles—and into your attic, sheetrock and insulation until it leaks into your rooms. If you wait this long, you will have more costly repairs to deal with, so I don’t recommend waiting to see what happens! 

Killington VT, Vermont, Carpenter & Costin, Ice Dams, Icicles, Roof Leaks, Leaky roof, Ice,

Ice dams on north face of roof where little sun hits and snow and ice build up for months.

We rake roofs!

If your home looks like this, CALL US. 802-775-5686  We’ll remove your snow and ice dams safely! We’ve all seen videos or heard stories of homeowners climbing up on the roof to shovel snow, with disastrous consequences. That is a BAD IDEA for so many reasons, but mainly because it is slippery, steep, and often times the snow slides off and takes you with it—ladder and all. That’s because, as I said above, the snow melts from the bottom up, so it is sitting on a very thin sheet of water, ready to break loose like an avalanche when you start whacking away at it. So, take our advice – Call us… and don’t be THAT guy.


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