Ice dams and roof raking. A few parts to this. - Saab General Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com


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Ice dams and roof raking. A few parts to this.
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Posted by Noel [Email] (#876) [Profile/Gallery] (more from Noel) on Mon, 1 Feb 2016 07:00:06 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: Ice Dams, Damage - Advise Needed, larry, Wed, 27 Jan 2016 10:16:25
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There are a few pieces to this issue.

First, you need a lot of insulation in an attic. I live in NH and the foot I have is not enough. A roofer or knowledgeable person at a home center or lumber yard can tell you what is right for your area. The goal is a cold attic, as in not much warmer than the outside air, but this can be hard to achieve in reality. I need another foot--maybe this summer.

Next, to get the attic cold, it has to be well-ventilated, with ridge or gable vents, or individual vents to get warm air out of the attic. A warm attic melts the snow on the roof, and the meltwater then freezes when it runs down and hits the eaves, and that forms ice dams.

Third, you need soffit vents all around the house. These work with the ridge and gable vents let cold air be drawn in by convection to keep the attic colder. After multiple ice dams last winter, I put in soffit vents on our place last summer and fall. Am not finished, but it helps.

Newer houses often have decent soffit vents, but older house (like ours --50 years old) don't. So you get to do it yourself or pay someone. Not hard to DIY, but is tedious. There are multiple options depending on your house.

As for roof rakes, you need to use them properly. Limit your raking to the first 2-3 feet back from the eaves. If you go further, and also have a too-warm attic, you just move the ice dam further up the roof. Have first hand experience with this!

There are other approaches. You can put sheet metal panels that cover your shingles from the eaves back. They are about about 18-24" square. These don't prevent ice dams, but can reduce leaks and make the dams that do form slide off more easily. You can also run hot wires along the edge of the roof. These go back about 18-24 inches and when turned on, prevent the dams from forming. Both approaches eliminate the need to rake the eaves.

Finally, if you have your roof re-shingled, have the roofer put Ice & Water shield from the eaves to 6 feet up the roof. This helps, but ice and water are persistent and you can still get leaks as time goes by.

Good luck!


_______________________________________ Noel 1999 9-3 SE auto (daily driver) 1996 9000 CSE 5 speed (soon to leave) 2003 9-5 Linear SportWagon (wife's) 1984 C900 4 door Base model (RIP) 1995 9000 CS (sold) 1996 9000 CS (RIP) 2000 9-3 SE (RIP)


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