Roof Leak - Need Advice

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I came home this afternoon to the dripping sound of water leaking from the ceiling in my Wife's office. It is a South-facing room. I put a plastic trash basket under the drips and went into the attic to see what's what. I discovered 2 sections at the front of the house where the roof rafters are wet (from edge up maybe 2') and the visible fascia boards are too. The blown in insulation (we had done in 2000) doesn't appear wet to the look and the leak is ~8' from the wall. I went outside up on a ladder and broke out ALL the ice in the gutters for that section of roof and was only able to smash the ice back 3-6" from the edge of the shingles. The ice above that is a solid 6-8" thick and I ran out of daylight by the time I accomplished this. There is plenty of snow up beyond this as I wasn't able to rake off as much here previously and now it is solid pack and the rake won't do a thing.

I'm thinking that with the edges of the roof now clear and the gutters clear, perhaps nothing further will back up into the attic? Sound theory or not??

I came back inside to find it leaking in 2 more places in her office, put another plastic trash basket under the 2nd place and need to clean off a lot of stuff to get to put a 3rd plastic trash basket out. There is now ~1" of water in the 1st plastic trash basket (that's over ~3 hours). It also looks like another couple spots in her office are ready to break thru (glistening wet on the ceiling).

- What else can I do tonight?
- Who do I call tomorrow? A carpenter? A roofer?

ETA: There is no electrical wiring in the ceiling near this room.

Thanks.
 
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CWulf

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That sucks Len, sorry to hear. I still have a lot of snow on my roof with ice dams. I cant really get up there but I have been using ice melt filled pantyhose (donated by my wife) to cut channels in the ice dams to give the water some place to go besides back in my attic. It seems to be working... crossing my fingers. Pretty simple to do, I think there is another thread about it on here.
 
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Where are you located? I'm a contractor, pm me and I'll give you my # to talk if you'd like and I can give you the info for some people to help you.
 

Woodstock

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Sounds like it's backing up under the shingles. The fact that it's south-facing means the little sunshine we've seen melted the snow by day. Then it froze into hard pack and ice overnight. Some of the guys fill a nylon stocking with salt and lay it on the lower edge of the ice dam to create a channel and drain the trapped water. Might be hard to find, but if you could lay one of those ice-melting cables on the lower edge of the jam you might relieve the pressure. The leaks in the ceiling won't tell you much about the location of the leaks. Once the water gets into the attic, it will run across to the horizontal framing to the lowest point.
You probably should photograph everything for insurance purposes. Best of luck. Sorry to hear you (and others) are going through this on top of all the other winter misery we're going through.
Edit: CWulf beat me to it with the pantyhose suggestion.
 
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JayMcB

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unless you get the ice off the roof, it will act as a dam and continue to back up.

ice dams suck, we are looking at a shit-ton of damage from them this year
 

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Len
I just went thru this in my case the ice dams backup-ed the water behind shingles and water was leaking thu nails right at the point over the interior wall, I have 2 foot over hangs on my 6 pitch roof
It was dripping just enough to make the fiberglass insulation act as a wick and water traveled to out to lowest point in ceiling.
I removed insulation and the leak seemed to stop. WELL BESIDES MY HITTING THE ICE WITH AN AXE!
Good luck!
 

namedpipes

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You don't have to remove the whole dam, just hole the dam.

The snow melt (and tomorrow, the RAIN) will take the path of least resistance. That's through the holes you cut in the dam.

Eventually those ceilings will dry if there's no more water feeding them. Then repair appropriately, which could range from stain killing paint to removing the damaged drywall and replacing it with new.

In the worst case, mold remediation, but I think (I could be wrong) the chances of a serious mold issue from a one time, short term water leak are small.
 
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Sounds like it's backing up under the shingles. The fact that it's south-facing means the little sunshine we've seen melted the snow by day. Then it froze into hard pack and ice overnight. Some of the guys fill a nylon stocking with salt and lay it on the lower edge of the ice dam to create a channel and drain the trapped water. Might be hard to find, but if you could lay one of those ice-melting cables on the lower edge of the jam you might relieve the pressure. The leaks in the ceiling won't tell you much about the location of the leaks. Once the water gets into the attic, it will run across to the horizontal framing to the lowest point.
You probably should photograph everything for insurance purposes. Best of luck. Sorry to hear you (and others) are going through this on top of all the other winter misery we're going through.
Edit: CWulf beat me to it with the pantyhose suggestion.

unless you get the ice off the roof, it will act as a dam and continue to back up.

ice dams suck, we are looking at a shit-ton of damage from them this year
^These guys are pretty spot on. I work for a property management company and we are dealing with a lot of ice dams. I would guess the water will stop soon because it will freeze up again. It is a good idea to poke a small hole (screwdriver size or so) in a low spot of the area where the water is dripping and catch anything that comes out in a bucket. This will free any water that may be caught up in the ceiling and might prevent a larger stain from forming. There isn't much else that I know of to stop it than what has already been mentioned which is rake the snow off the roof the best you can and melt / chop some channels through the ice dam at the edge of your roof that will allow the water to drain off instead of backing up under the shingles like it is doing now.


This is a demonstration of the ice melt filled pantyhose trick.




I wish you the best of luck!!!
 

lowbuckbob

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Contact your home owner's insurance and see what's covered. This happened to me a couple of years ago and I called insurance company. They paid for everything.
 
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One other thing you didn't mention doing: from the attic, look at or feel around the topside of the ceiling panels for standing water and use a wet vac to suction it up, rather than waiting for it to drip through the ceiling.
 

icyclefar

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Others have said it but Ill clarify, The snow on your roof is the source of the water that is leaking into your house. If you can remove all of the snow you will stop leaking. The next step, as mentioned above is to try and get rid of the ice, or at least get some channels cut through them to give the water a way to escape. Ive been using an impact hammer to chip off the bulk of the ice, once I'm within a few inches of the roof tapping with a dead blow hammer easily gets rid of the rest. This method is not for the faint of heart, there is potential of damaging the roof if you are not careful.

If you could find someone with a steam unit, the ice dams could be steamed off the roof. Steam is probably the very best way to do it however I don't know anyone in the area who is equipped to do it.

Wish I could offer you more assistance but it has been really challenging to get anyone given the massive number of roofs that are leaking.

If you go with the ice melt socks, and have trouble finding ice melt, call me. Ive got pallets of it!

Good luck!
 

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Thanks folks.

I have bags of CaCL2, purchased a year ago. Will get up to throw some pantyhose up there tomorrow once it stops raining.

Can't rake anything more off the roof, tried that and it's solid. Also no way I'll actually climb on the roof. Everything is chopped back off the edges and I can get up there with a ladder to put the CaCL2 pantyhose up there during daylight.
 

chinalfr

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Hang tight. 2 more weeks till spring. I'm ready to say this. **** the snow.

Sent from my Tinfoil hat
 

EC1

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Quick, have Beacon Hill pass a law making ice dams illegal; that should take care if it. NOT! [smile]
 
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I have a "valley" in my roof i'm worried about. I had a leak there in 2010. It has some ice high up, out of reach. i've removed the snow that was feeding it, but rain would be an issue.

I placed a couple of melt socks up there yesterday but it seemed to be working a bit too slowly.

I took a couple sections of my roof rake and duct taped a plastic cup to the end. I filled this with ice melt, and used it to directly nuke some channels in the area I couldn't reach.(working bottom to top) it was easy to accurately put the ice melt where i needed it with this setup. it took numerous cups of ice melt, but I think the water's got someplace to go now.. the ice melt socks definitely cut a cleaner channel, but it takes a couple of days to do so through a decent amount of ice.

I also found one of these steamers in a closet at home, it has a hose attachment that I've used to burn though a couple of ice dams.....just a drain hole at shingle level until i can see snow. probably takes 5-10 minutes depending on how big the dam is. It works pretty well, and is a lot neater than using hot water. I may invest in one with a pole attachment for future use if I can find one on the cheap. A professional steam system would be nice, but too much $$.


i just can't chisel these bastards any more, my hands are screwed from what i think is carpal tunnel.

Hang on, there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel. I can't believe we're finally out of February.
 

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Pay someone to remove as much snow off your roof as possible ?
The methods I've seen contractors use in my neighborhood over the past few years have been shoveling it down. And when Spring came I could see the damage to their roofs from the ground. Makes me leary of having someone do that. It looks like the drips have slowed down somewhat. We removed everything we could from under the drips and put 4 plastic trash baskets down. However I'm running out of spare trash baskets, so I better not need any more. [laugh]

ETA: I have a steamer but it rolls around on wheels and only has ~6' hose so no go on the ladder.
 
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calsdad

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I suggested this in the ice dam thread a couple of times - if you've got water coming thru the roof - and you have bare rafters in the attic - staple some heavy plastic to the underside of the rafters - and then stick the bottom edge of the plastic past the outer wall of the house - out into the eaves. That way any water coming thru the roof will at least run down the plastic and out into the eaves - instead of dripping down into your insulation and ceiling (and rest of the house).
 
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The methods I've seen contractors use in my neighborhood over the past few years have been shoveling it down. And when Spring came I could see the damage to their roofs from the ground. Makes me leary of having someone do that. It looks like the drips have slowed down somewhat. We removed everything we could from under the drips and put 4 plastic trash baskets down. However I'm running out of spare trash baskets, so I better not need any more. [laugh]

ETA: I have a steamer but it rolls around on wheels and only has ~6' hose so no go on the ladder.
You'll notice a lot of those people hired to clear the snow are roofers. Any damage done is fine by them.

Use Calcium and make channels from high up to the gutters. What you may have done by clearing the snow down low is move the ice damn up higher where you don't have ice and water shield.
 

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You'll notice a lot of those people hired to clear the snow are roofers. Any damage done is fine by them.

Use Calcium and make channels from high up to the gutters. What you may have done by clearing the snow down low is move the ice damn up higher where you don't have ice and water shield.
That's why I figured to ask here as to what kind of expertise to look for.

It started to get dark just as I finished up chopping all the ice at the gutter level. Tomorrow after the snow and rain stops, I'll be putting up the CaCl2 up there. Some pantyhose and I can sling some raw CaCl2 up higher as well.
 
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If you understand how ice dams work, you know that you need to clear them or clear a path for the water to get through it.

You can chop at it if you want...however you risk damaging your roof.
The pantyhose truck does work to cut channels which is great if you can do it.

If you have damage already, call your insurance company.
Mine covers $500 of ice dam removal (a steam removal company charges 450 an hour and they can clear roughly 15-20 feet of ice dam per hour)
You will pay your deductible to cover your damage inside.

I had a dam removal company come out. They dropped pieces of ice almost the size of garbage cans. When they started running out of time they cut channels in the other 2' deep dams so that tomorrow's warm weather water will have somewhere to go.

If your insurance company covers some of the removal...it's a no brainer. Ice Dam Liquidators is who I used. Dmitry was the guy who led the crew. They were hard working and knew roofs very well.

Be weary of those who say they will go at it with a hammer and chisel.

Here is a before/after shot of a section that they helped me out with. I ran out of budget so they did this to get me by.
Cleared all the icicles. (put plywood against all windows and house in case of falling damage), then they cleared all the gutters so water would flow...then cut channels every few feet so that water would pass. This was certainly better than what I could have done with pantyhose. (but more expensive)

 
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I'm sick!

Got up this morning and looked at ceilings. It's about to break thru right over the bed in the master bedroom (opposite side of the house from last night's leaks) and there are some very serious ice dams on that side as my new snowblower wasn't able to get me close to the house on that side. I've maxed out all available trash baskets in my Wife's office!
 
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I'm sick!

Got up this morning and looked at ceilings. It's about to break thru right over the bed in the master bedroom (opposite side of the house from last night's leaks) and there are some very serious ice dams on that side as my new snowblower wasn't able to get me close to the house on that side. I've maxed out all available trash baskets in my Wife's office!
Welcome to the club. I have damage in about 6 rooms. As others have said you need to remove the dams and/or the snow for the water to stop. If you don't give the water an easy way down its going to find it's own way. I'm surprised you made it this long with no leaks. I started getting leaks 3 weeks ago. I have since cleared all my snow and dams from the roof and they all stopped. Going to be a busy spring fixing the mess this winter caused.
 

Billsail

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Call your ins. co as soon as they open. They have people that specialize in these types of repairs. Your ceilings may have to be replaced. They remove damaged sheetrock, then direct hot air blowers up into your attic space, for up to several days, to mitigate rot and mold problems.
 

DrBurnsides

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Does anybody have those electrical thingies that melt the ice tacked to their roof.. They used to be a thing back in the 80s.. Do they work?

Edit.. It's called roof heat tape and I'm putting it in for next year.
 
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wking-cma

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+1 to moving the ice dam up higher when you clear the edge only. I've had this happen.

If you have ridge vents, at least some of that line needs to be open too for attic cooling. I also
refuse to get on the roof but a roof rake from the ladder allowed me to reach the ridge. It sounds
like that may be hard pack too at this point though. This is the first time in 27 years I've seen snow
on the ridge line survive wind for more than a day or two and block the vents.


You'll notice a lot of those people hired to clear the snow are roofers. Any damage done is fine by them.

Use Calcium and make channels from high up to the gutters. What you may have done by clearing the snow down low is move the ice damn up higher where you don't have ice and water shield.
 
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I'm sick!

Got up this morning and looked at ceilings. It's about to break thru right over the bed in the master bedroom (opposite side of the house from last night's leaks) and there are some very serious ice dams on that side as my new snowblower wasn't able to get me close to the house on that side. I've maxed out all available trash baskets in my Wife's office!
You've got 2 options. Be passive and let the damage happen. It sounds like it's enough to call your insurance company already. Mine says it is at no fault to me so the premium will not go up. (This is at the insurance company's dime)

OR be proactive - try and eat up some of the cost of ice dam removal yourself and prevent the need for a lot of renovation. (This is at mostly your cost)

I asked them (insurance) specifically: If I let the damage occur, the insurance company will have to cover everything...but if I call someone out to take care of the ice dams to prevent further damage then I will have to pay for it? "Yes"
 
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Already called insurance company a few minutes after 0800, claim started and an adjuster will contact me within a day.

No way I want any further damage. I don't care who has to pay for it. I have a $2.5K deductible anyway so I'm prepared to shoulder a good deal of the cost.

Thanks for those with offers of Calcium Chloride and roof rakes, but I have both and it's solid like a rock up there (the "snow") so that the roof rake can't do anything at this point.

I called Ice Dam Liquidators but they have headed back to MN according to their FB page.

I called "MA Ice Dam Removal" (aka Palumbo Services, Inc.) and they are coming here this afternoon. Their website says they use steam as well.

I went back up into the attic and found about 3 other rooms with wet rafters, so it's only a matter of time before the entire place is leaking if I don't get all that stuff off there. The salt will work but takes a few days and by then the damage will be extensive.
 
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