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Freaking Out over ice dam damage

January 22nd, 2011 at 03:21 pm

So, i posted a photo in my last post showing the blistered paint on the baseboard in my spare bedroom. There are 2 spots downstairs showing water damage as well, including a portion of wallpaper above the kitchen door. I think i have extra of that wallpaper in the attic.

I spoke to my friend Frank who is telling me it's going to likely be big bucks to repair all this and it'll mean tearing up the walls and getting rid of mold, etc. He has water damage, too and is filing an insurance claim.

I don't think I will since i just recently increased my deductible to $5,000.

I called a guy in town who advertises in the local paper that he removes snow and ice dams from roofs. His charge for a 2-story house is $600. I'm freaking out about the costs already.

He'll stop by tomorrow to look at the house; he said he charges less to just remove the ice dams and snow from the lowest portion of the roof.

If I pay him to do that, then maybe it would be possible for me to keep snow/ice from building up on the gutters for the rest of the winter with the roof rake I just bought today.

I haven't tried it out yet but plan to do so tomorrow. I'm not sure I can do anything with it since solid ice has formed over the gutters, and I'm not sure how far I'll be able to reach with the 17-foot roof rake.

I discovered a frozen stream of water down the INSIDE of the storm door on the kitchen entry. The water had streamed through some wood trim. I set up a small portable space heater to help melt the frozen stream, which had iced up into a small pool on my wood threshold, and i soaked it up with paper towels as it melted; I also had to chip away at it with a butter knife.

I also worked outside this afternoon, basically shoveling a pathway in knee-high snow to the area where I wanted to set up a ladder. I got the ladder set up and against my better judgment, went up and was able to knock off some icicles. I had a small hammer with me that i used to try to chip away at the ice, but it's such a solid block of ice my arm would wear out long before i was able to create a channel through the ice for melting water to flow.

I had also read online that you can cut up some old pantyhose and fill it with sodium chloride, tie the pantyhose at both ends, and then lay it horizontally across the ice dam and along the roof. This will eventually melt the ice and create an opening out where water can flow.

Talked to Frank about all this and he said he'll come over Monday with a hatchet, which might be better to chip away at ice at.

The most important thing i can do now is remove as much ice and snow from the roof as possible, since the snow higher on the roof is feeding and making those ice dams below larger each time it melts a little. If I remove it, I can at least limit the damage.

I read online that some companies use a thermal moisture detector that can tell if there's moisture inside walls before breaking into them. I had insulation blown in there years ago, so that would/could also get wet.

So we could be talking breaking down walls, ripping out insulation and sheetrock, retaping everything, etc. Maybe it'll exceed $5k anyway. I'm really freaking out. I've worked SO hard to minimize my expenses, and this just blows all of that.

Just got a phone call from my neighbors who live on the hill behind my house. He called to offer me eggs from their new chickens, who are laying like crazy. I poured out all my woes to him and he invited me up to their house tomorrow for tea. (He's British.) He said oh yeah, they had leaks, too, but he's not that concerned; he can do all the repairs himself.

1 Responses to “Freaking Out over ice dam damage”

  1. My English Castle Says:

    yuck. What a mess.
    The roof rake should do the job--you don't need to get all the snow off the roof, just towards the edges.
    And you may not have mold damage or have to rip everything out. I think some of those "experts" are alarmists. We used calcium chloride one year when it was very bad and DH delayed raking the snow off. The pantyhose thing works, and I think they also have tablets of it that you fling on the roof.


    Good luck!

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