Latest Discussions : Roofing & Siding


05:39AM | 09/07/01
Member Since: 01/26/00
22 lifetime posts
I didn't want to jump in, so I will start a new topic.

After reading through the thread and the info. from the Ice Dam link I realized I have a problem.

Last winter (We live in New England) I had a formation of ice/snow built up on the north side of the house. The section that had the build up is on the back of the house where an addition was installed by the previous owners, quite some time ago. The addition is on the back of a cape, off the kitchen. From the upstairs, there is no access to the area above the ceiling of the addition. There is a vent on the side of the addition at the peak.

My thought and reason for the ice/snow build-up is the fact that there is no insulation in the ceiling of the addition, thus the warm air is sitting in the open space above the room. I guess my question(s) would be: 1. How do I tell if there is insulation up there? 2. If it is there and very old, is it doing anything useful? 3. How do I get new insulation up there? I'm thinking that blown in is my only solution!

Sorry to go on so long, I just wanted to paint the whole picture! Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone! -Steve


06:26AM | 09/07/01
Member Since: 09/01/00
312 lifetime posts
Hi Steve(from your neighbor slightly to the north).I too, have been watching the last thread with interest.I've been in my house for 16 years and before that,spent 30 years in Massachusetts.All of the points in the last thread are well taken,however,I have noticed that some winters present more of a problem than others and I don't believe that insulation,or lack of it,can always be blamed.Rising and falling outdoor temperatures can make ice form on surfaces despite what may be going on within the structure.You didn't mention if you had water damage or not, but I think if you focus on where/why water is coming in you're closer to a solution as opposed to trying to alleviate the formation of ice which may(I repeat may)just be the result of nasty weather.Let's hope for better conditions this year!


06:37AM | 09/07/01
Member Since: 01/26/00
22 lifetime posts
Thanks Matches! Actually last year where the addition meets the house structure, there was water damage, from a rotted fascia. According to the neighbors, the house never had gutters (we have them installed) and the previous homeowner also had water damage in the same location. We had a carpenter come out this summer and replace the fascia and have not had a problem with water, even with the heavy rains and me testing it with a hose. So I think the water problem is resolved.

I understand that some winters are worse than others and conditions change all the time. Last winter was our first in the house..maybe I'll give it another winter and see what happens before looking to insulation as a solution.

Thanks again. -Steve

Jay J

07:10AM | 09/07/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi ssantello,

Matches brings up a good point. I use to live in NE from '84 - '92. And some Winters are worst than others.

In your case, 1) the problematic roof line is on the North side. It probably gets some sun (which causes melting), then freezes. 2) If the roof line is a low-pitched roof, this won't help the situation either. It can COMPOUND the problem and make it more 'pronounced' when you don't have a heat-related cause.

All I'm saying is there are a few things that can be going on here causing your problem, where together and combined, you're having it. If you want to check for insulation, can you remove any ceiling lights or whatever? (Of course be SURE you've turned off the RIGHT circuit breaker before you check ...) If the insulation is not damaged from water or compressed (when it shouldn't be), the age of the insulation shouldn't matter. What SHOULD matter (on a good day) is if there's an adequate amount of insulation. Soooo, EVEN if it looks fine (feels fine), you may need more. And as far as getting new insulation up there, you MIGHT be able to remove the vent on the side of the addition. You can buy replacement vents at the Home Centers (or order them out of a cataloge at the Building Materials Desk if you don't see what you want on the shelf.) Depending on the vent situation, you may be able to install batt insulation, or at worst, blown insulation.

If it's easy enough and it's certainly inexpensive enough, I don't see any reason you can't just remove what's there and install new insulation. Just don't cover over any 'housing' that has anything electrical in it. And don't obstruct any soffit vents either. (And the vapor barrier faces the INSIDE of the house.)

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: You did good in starting your own thread ...

PPS: You painted a pretty good picture. You didn't mention if you had soffit vents (and I mention this because I'm not sure if you know what they are (?)), and what the pitch of the roof was. This is NOT a test for: 'The Perfect Post' !!!


07:27AM | 09/07/01
Member Since: 01/26/00
22 lifetime posts
Thanks Jay J. Good point, I can remove the light that is in the room to see if there is insulation up there. I didn't think of that!

I don't know the slope of the roof, I would say around 45 degrees, does that make sense?

We do not have soffit vents. It's a cape style house and we do not have soffits. The roof/addition in question is off the back side of the house, built into the slope of the roof. The house is not dormered.

I guess I have some looking around to do this weekend.

Just out of curiosity, how expensive is blow-in insulation? The room is about 15' X 15'

Thanks again! Have a good one! -Steve


07:31AM | 09/07/01
Member Since: 09/01/00
312 lifetime posts
You're at a disadvantage with only one year in the house.As Jay J alluded to,there sometimes are combinations of things going on and under different conditions.By the way,last year was the first year living here that I had icicles, on the north side as well,that went from roof to ground.During those thaws,I was certain there would be leaking but there wasn't any.Some day when things are slow here,I'll bring up a leak I have that only happens during a winter rain and no snow on the roof!


07:48AM | 09/07/01
Member Since: 01/26/00
22 lifetime posts
Matches: Funny you mentioned the winter rain. Last year when it was still cold out, things were still frozen, and it rained is when I first had a noticeable issue with the water coming that I mentioned earlier!

Gotta love New England!


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