Ice dams: Signs of damage and how to know if your house is at risk.

There are several tell tail signs that your house is at risk of ice dam damage. Obviously, there can be unseen damage, or potential for damage due to faulty flashing, gutter installation, hooded covers or solid gutter guards, roof installation, or product failure, but this can serve as a pretty reliable guide to what to look for right from the ground or in the attic with a flashlight. Although ice dams aren’t caused by gutters, people sometimes confuse Gutter Damming with Ice Damming. Gutter Dams are mostly caused by clogged downspouts from debris or freezing and gutters filling with water from snow and ice melt, refreezing, in conjunction with improper installation of the gutters. Water has no where to go during melting, but over the front ,or worse yet, the back of the gutter. Signs are icicles hanging from the gutters. Sometimes the backed up water travels behind the fascia and follows the soffit back to the house.

Obvious leaks: These leaks need further investigation as to the cause. Rule out roof and plumbing leaks first. Nail pops, missing shingles, bad boots, skylights and valleys are separate roofing issues. Evidence of these roof leaks, in most cases where accessible, can be seen with a flashlight in the attic. Half the time, ice dam issues can be seen in the eaves from the attic. Observe where the ceiling meets the wall along the walls closest to where the gutters are in line outside. water can travel on the inside walls or the outside walls between the siding, depending on where the water breaks in, especially with short or no soffits. In severe cases, you can be affected all the way down to the floor or foundation. Bulges in latex paint are a dead giveaway and handled best before they burst with tape and a garbage bag.
On vinyl siding, look for bulges, drips that appear from manufacturers weep holes, usually with a colored stain. These stains are removable if not left for too long.

Ice hanging from the soffit, drips coming from the soffit, and or stains on the vinyl, wood/ painted soffit. If you don’t have a soffit, or less than 9″ soffit, then you are in the worst category, in my opinion. For some reason, I’ve seen a lot of botched jobs on homes (especially Capes) where there is no soffit, and the siding contractor went over the old wood siding and didn’t properly cap the top row with inverted j-channel so that the gutter, when over flowing with ice. Soffit that pitches back toward the house.

Not finished. Rough test publish


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