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House/Roof Repair Question

  1. #1
    Littering and........
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    House/Roof Repair Question


    I have a question for the more construction inclined NESR members.

    I have an old (110+ years) farmhouse, and I am having a problem keeping the roof vented. This results in the underside of the roof getting heat, which causes the snow to melt quickly; it then turns to water, runs down to the edge of the roof, where it becomes ice.

    I end up with huge icicles and ice dams around the edge of my roof, which causes leaks from water running down to the ice dams and forming a little pool.

    I re-insulated the ceilings this summer thinking that this would keep it from getting warm enough in the attic to cause this problem. It seems only to have slowed the process down.

    One of the roofs (the house is basically 2 sections) has no venting at all, so I assume the simple thing to do is install gable end vents. The other part has gable end vents, but they just dont seem to be getting the job done.

    What the hell do I have to do to fix this? Any suggestions?

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  2. #2
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Some ridge/soffit vents?
    Fairly easy to do... You'll have to re-shingle the top cap, though...
    they tend to work better than gable vents as it draws cold air in the soffit and carries it up through the ridge vent.
    You generally need an unimpeded path for the air... most of the time the insulation is pushed into the soffit and prevents this. This is also fix-able, but requires some crawling into the smallest parts of the attic. Not fun (trust me) but worth it.

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  3. #3
    Just Registered beet's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question


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  4. #4
    Littering and........
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Quote Originally Posted by trickphoto View Post
    Some ridge/soffit vents?
    Fairly easy to do... You'll have to re-shingle the top cap, though...
    they tend to work better than gable vents as it draws cold air in the soffit and carries it up through the ridge vent.
    You generally need an unimpeded path for the air... most of the time the insulation is pushed into the soffit and prevents this. This is also fix-able, but requires some crawling into the smallest parts of the attic. Not fun (trust me) but worth it.
    Thats what I was thinking....and also what i was afraid of, since I'm not relishing the thought of doing that in the cold and snow. I'm thinking it might have to wait until spring.

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  5. #5
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Yeah... the ridge vent is the only thing that could hold you up, but that's a 1/2 day project (or less) if you got a window to do it. Worm-drive saw with a nail cutting blade... just zip off a few inches of the substrate and nail your last course over the vent as you install it. Ideally you'd replace the existing soffit with vented materials, but I've seen pop-in vents you could install with a hole-saw. Not sure if that would give you enough square footage of vent, but it would likely make a difference in the meantime.

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  6. #6
    Littering and........
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Here in VT, I have about a foot of snow.

    I guess I could shovel the roof, let the sun dry it up for a day, and then do it.

    I was just hoping someone knew of a better ninja trick.

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  7. #7
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Quote Originally Posted by highsider View Post
    I was just hoping someone knew of a better ninja trick.
    Make Christy do it?

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  8. #8
    Lifer
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Are the ends vented? I don't have a ridge vent on the house or the garage.

    If the soffits aren't vented you can get away this winter by drilling a bunch of holes (1/2 inch and 1 inch - four or five between each rafter) along the solid soffits - staple screen over the holes to keep the critters out). Put some attic vents (or pieces of folded cardboard) in the attic to keep the insulation from plugging the holes. Come spring or summer, fix it right though.

    There is also the option of putting heat tape on the roof. This will make you GMP's best customer though.

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    SSearchVT

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  9. #9
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Delta-Therm Roof Deicing Cables Comparison



    I've helped my dad install that on the house a couple times. Pretty easy to do but obviously you gotta get rid of the existing ice.

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  10. #10
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Quote Originally Posted by SSearchVT View Post
    Are the ends vented? I don't have a ridge vent on the house or the garage.

    If the soffits aren't vented you can get away this winter by drilling a bunch of holes (1/2 inch and 1 inch - four or five between each rafter) along the solid soffits - staple screen over the holes to keep the critters out). Put some attic vents (or pieces of folded cardboard) in the attic to keep the insulation from plugging the holes. Come spring or summer, fix it right though.

    There is also the option of putting heat tape on the roof. This will make you GMP's best customer though.
    The soffits aren't vented......would that help? I figure if heat rises, making ventilation down low wont make much of a difference?

    I think you're onto something with the heat tape idea, at least for a temporary solution.

    I should have just taken care of this during the summer. I am a procrastinating dumbass.

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  11. #11
    Lifer
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    It needs to be done as a system. An insulated cieling to keep the warm air in the living space. Vented soffits with either end vents or ridge vents to keep the roof cold.

    The heat tape (hot wire) will keep the water that is flowing down the roof liquid a little longer. You'll be able to visibly see the meter spin faster when you turn it on though...

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    SSearchVT

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  12. #12
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Quote Originally Posted by SSearchVT View Post
    It needs to be done as a system. An insulated cieling to keep the warm air in the living space. Vented soffits with either end vents or ridge vents to keep the roof cold.

    The heat tape (hot wire) will keep the water that is flowing down the roof liquid a little longer. You'll be able to visibly see the meter spin faster when you turn it on though...
    yeah, pretty much... what my dad & I have done to avoid iceicles is loop the cable just over the edge of the roof. that way the water drips off the cable instead of the roofing where it can re-freeze

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  13. #13
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    ......go with a metal roof?///

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  14. #14
    Lifer Currently's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    They sell pink solid foam "thingys" that you put on top of where the walls are in the attic at the edge of your roof and these curved and ridged foam things redirect the heat so that it does not hit the roof and goes towards the ridge vent.

    Eaves are to be vented and ridge is to be vented so there is a flow of air keeping the roof at a uniform temperature with the outside.

    Winter is started and there really is not much you can do right now.

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  15. #15
    Lifer burnham's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Vent the soffits, install proper vent above the insulation, and vent the gables or ridge. It's a pretty important thing to do, as the situation you have now is the kind of thing that makes mold in the summer.

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  16. #16
    Just Registered The Crashing Tomato's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    + 1 ^^^
    Keep in mind is that you cannot/ should not have both systems in place in the same attic space.

    My .02 only cuz,

    I use to remodel houses from the 1700's and basically we had to make sure the interior living space was COMPLETELY sealed off from the attic space. Just curious is the gable vented section of the house done on both ends? If not you need to create a HOLE so that the air can travel from one end to the other ( gable end to gable end)

    This venting brewhaha is supposed to happen naturally due to temp/pressure differential ( any heat loss from the living space is transferred to the cold attic space and then whatever heat is left in that air will transfer to the outside space to a point of outside temp equilibrium. I have seen situations that have needed a fan to help things move and that fan was set up with a thermostat control. when the temp in the attic got above X - temp the fan would kick on and purge the attic space of the warm air. the only reason this system was used is b/c there was not a good way to seal up the living space from the attic space ....they had a mold issue, tons of heat loss .... but no more isicles or puddles we learned later that we should have use two fans so as to not draw the 'make-up' air from inside the house ( path of least resistance )

    A possible solution for this winter can be done from inside the attic if your clever. The roof that does not have any gable vents ... can you get to the ends in the attic, if so you can cut the opening from the inside ( hole saw and a sawz all )and brace the "Home Cheapo" gable vent cover from the inside with a 2X4 across the studs and and some mechanics wire. If you attempt this ..... put the wire on before you stick the vent out the hole ........it will give you something to hold on to. Yeah, I dropped one!

    If you do the gable end option stuff every HOLE ...... near the eaves with insul, and gasket the door / hatch that leads to the attic. Use rock wool around the chimney as that stuff will not melt or burn. Don't forget to check the stink pipe and bthroom exhaust fans as they are also considered penetrations that need to be sealed

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  17. #17
    I kick hippies...and Kham Nikon's Avatar
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    Make Christy do it?

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  18. #18
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    If I'm not mistaken you need 1sq ft of ventalation for every 300 sq ft of attic space. Measure how many sq ft of attic space and how big are the gable vents, also how many soffit vents are there??????? Post this back up so we can see what you need to do.

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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Quote Originally Posted by duc106 View Post
    If I'm not mistaken you need 1sq ft of ventalation for every 300 sq ft of attic space. Measure how many sq ft of attic space and how big are the gable vents, also how many soffit vents are there??????? Post this back up so we can see what you need to do.
    Basically, the plan is to install a ridge vent and soffit vents on every part of the roof I can. The only issue is, can I do it now or do I wait for spring.

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  20. #20
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    I would wait till spring since the house has been up for 110 years so one more season should not make a difference but when you do use the 1/300 for venting, you don't want to over vent.

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    House/Roof Repair Question

    Quote Originally Posted by duc106 View Post
    I would wait till spring since the house has been up for 110 years so one more season should not make a difference but when you do use the 1/300 for venting, you don't want to over vent.
    Uh oh...what happens if I over vent?

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  22. #22
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    House/Roof Repair Question

    you asked ....... you recieved...... MENTOS!

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