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    1. 05-02-2006 01:04 PM #1
      We bought a house and this past winter immediately noticed abnormally MASSIVE icicles hanging from the gutters and roof edge, surrounding about 90% of the house. Some of these icicles are a few feet long and weigh a lot. This is NOT normal, but I wish I knew what is causing this. I also noticed that right underneath the roof overhang surrounding the whole house, the painted wood seems to be cracking and rotting! Is this caused by the icicles? Would our 'maintenance-free' 'LeafGuard' gutters cause this?

      What needs to be done to fix this issue? Thanks for your help in advance.


    2. Member case sensitive's Avatar
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      05-02-2006 01:18 PM #2
      Usually water and cold weather cause icicles.

    3. 05-02-2006 01:36 PM #3
      If I had to guess it would be from poor insulation. Frozen rain, ice, snow sticks to the roof but excessive heat is melting the ice and as it drips down it refreezes.

      how is the insulation in your attic?


    4. Moderator askibum02's Avatar
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      05-02-2006 01:59 PM #4
      Quote, originally posted by hoTTub »
      If I had to guess it would be from poor insulation. Frozen rain, ice, snow sticks to the roof but excessive heat is melting the ice and as it drips down it refreezes.

      how is the insulation in your attic?

      You can also get a heating "blanket" to go in the edge of your roof,under your shingles to keep the ice and snow build up melted, and away from the edge. It sounds like you have some water damage to your soffet boards.

      Brett
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    5. 05-02-2006 03:35 PM #5
      What Causes Ice Dams and Icicles?


      Anyone who has lived in a snowy climate has seen ice dams. Thick bands of ice form along the eaves of houses, causing millions of dollars of structural damage every year. Water-stained ceilings, dislodged roof shingles, sagging gutters, peeling paint, and damaged plaster--all are the familiar results of ice dams.

      There are many ways to treat the symptoms, but proper air sealing, insulation, and attic venting are the best way to eliminate the problem.

      Ice dams form along the roof's edge, usually above the overhang. Here's why. Heat and warm air leaking from the living space below melt the snow, which trickles down to the colder edge of the roof (above the eaves) and refreezes. Every inch of snow that accumulates on the roof insulates the roof deck a little more. This keeps more heat in the attic, which in turn makes the roof even warmer and melts more snow. Frigid outdoor temperatures ensure a fast and deep freeze at the eaves. The worst ice dams usually occur when a deep snow is followed by very cold weather.


      The Havoc Ice Dams Wreak

      Contrary to popular belief, gutters do not cause ice dams. However, gutters do help to concentrate ice and water in the very vulnerable area at the edge of the roof. As gutters fill with ice, they often bend and rip away from the house, bringing fascia, fasteners, and downspouts in tow.

      Roofs leak on attic insulation. In the short term, wet insulation doesn't work well. Over the long term, water-soaked insulation remains compressed, so that even after it dries, the R-value is not as high. The lower the R-values, the more heat lost. This sets up a vicious cycle: heat loss-ice dams-roof leaks-insulation damage-more heat loss! Cellulose insulation is particularly vulnerable to the hazards of wetting.

      Water often leaks down inside the wall, where it wets wall insulation and causes it to sag, leaving uninsulated voids at the top of the wall. Again, energy dollars disappear, but more importantly, moisture gets trapped in the wall cavity between the exterior plywood sheathing and the interior vapor barrier. Soon you can smell the result. In time, the structural framing members may decay. Metal fasteners may corrode. Mold and mildew may form on the surface of the wall. Exterior and interior paint blisters and peels. As a result, people with allergies suffer.

      Peeling paint deserves special attention here because it may be hard to recognize what's causing it. Wall paint doesn't usually blister or peel while the ice dams are visible. Paint peels long after the ice--and the roof leak itself--have disappeared. Water from the leak infiltrates wall cavities. It dampens building materials and raises the relative humidity inside the wall. The moisture within the wall cavity tries to escape (as either liquid or vapor) and wets the interior and exterior walls. As a result, the walls shed their skin of paint.


      Solving the Problem

      The way to stop ice dams from forming is to keep the entire roof cold. In most homes this means blocking all air leaks leading to the attic from the living space below, increasing the thickness of insulation on the attic floor, and installing a continuous soffit and ridge vent system. Be sure that the air and insulation barrier you create is continuous.

      Don't waste time or money placing electric heat tape on the shingles above the edge of the roof. Electrically heated cable rarely, if ever, solves the problem. It takes a lot of electricity to prevent ice formation; and the heating must be done before it gets cold enough for ice dams to form, not afterwards. Over time, heat tape makes shingles brittle. It's expensive to install, too, and water can leak through the cable fasteners. And often the cables create ice dams just above them.

      The worst of all solutions is shoveling snow and chipping ice from the edge of the roof. People attack mounds of snow and roof ice with hammers, shovels, ice picks, homemade snow rakes, crowbars, and chain saws! The theory is obvious. No snow or ice, no leaking water. Unfortunately, this method threatens life, limb, and roof.


    6. Moderator askibum02's Avatar
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      05-02-2006 03:56 PM #6
      Quote, originally posted by DigitalTexan2u »

      Don't waste time or money placing electric heat tape on the shingles above the edge of the roof. Electrically heated cable rarely, if ever, solves the problem. It takes a lot of electricity to prevent ice formation; and the heating must be done before it gets cold enough for ice dams to form, not afterwards. Over time, heat tape makes shingles brittle. It's expensive to install, too, and water can leak through the cable fasteners. And often the cables create ice dams just above them.

      The worst of all solutions is shoveling snow and chipping ice from the edge of the roof. People attack mounds of snow and roof ice with hammers, shovels, ice picks, homemade snow rakes, crowbars, and chain saws! The theory is obvious. No snow or ice, no leaking water. Unfortunately, this method threatens life, limb, and roof.

      There is one thing you have left out of this equation. That is the extra weight from the snow and ice on the roof. This past winter in Europe should bring this to light, as two major venues, one in Germany, and one in Poland collapsed under the excess weight of snow. Yes, good insulation is the best solution, but if you have good isulation and there is still a problem then what is the solution? Having spent some of the snowiest years in recent history in Minnesota, I can attest to the fact that lots of snow on the roof=bad. If you are just talking about a few inches on the roof at a time, or a few icicles, then yes, heat tape is a waste of money. If you are talking about A LOT of snow or ice, would you rather pay for the electricity or the roof/house repairs from the damage caused?

      Brett
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    7. 05-02-2006 07:46 PM #7
      EXCELLENT information! Thanks.

      This house is a MONEY PIT!!! $3 grand for a fence, another 3 grand for a new patio, and i'm guessing about 8 grand to properly insulate the place AND fix the water damage on my eaves. Maybe more!


    8. Member vw_punx's Avatar
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      05-03-2006 09:28 AM #8
      Do you have box gutters? They're a nightmare! Our last place was a big old house with cracking and sagging box gutters- large icicles and large box gutter problem!

    9. Member EternalSunshine's Avatar
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      05-03-2006 12:05 PM #9
      I have ripped my gutters down for this very reason. The prior owner did not maintain the house at all. I have been replacing the eaves one at a time to fix the rot. I also have to replace the vents, the painted them closed! I have scraped some open but I figure to just go ahead and replace them all and add an attic fan...
      I don't need no stinking signature!

    10. Member MEIN_VW's Avatar
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      05-08-2006 11:48 AM #10
      Quote, originally posted by DigitalTexan2u »
      Electrically heated cable rarely, if ever, solves the problem.

      That solved my ice dam problem but my problem wasn't your typical ice dam.

      The only place where an ice dam formed on my home was on one side of the garage - an unheated garage. The problem was only on the side of the roof facing north. In the winter, the sun shines only on the top half of the north side of the roof while the lower half is always in the shade. The sun would melt the snow on the top half and it would run down to the shady part and freeze. By mid winter the gutters and the down spout were solid ice and water would run off onto our front steps and freeze solid causing ice damage.

      Last fall I installed heated cable along the edge of the roof, in the gutter and down the down spout. This winter I had no issues with ice like I had last year.


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