Dams...dams...dams: Is a roof rake effective it?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Drew Bethel, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Dams all over the place and I'm concerned that it's only a matter of time before water gets into the walls or inside the house.

    It's been snowing so much in Minnesota that it's becoming a problem!
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Yes, if you're diligent with it and remove the snow right after it falls. Once the snow melts and refreezes to a block of ice before you rake it.. you're kind of at the mercy of mother nature to do the melting.

    You can buy one of those plug-in defroster cords and hang it up there to melt it. It's a pain to get up there and install it, but it might beat getting a face full of snow when you rake your roof.

    I once dumped some potassium chloride into my gutter to get rid of an ice dam... it basically turned the ice into swiss cheese and didn't really take it all the way out. It was fun to watch it work though. The ice would start to fizz and water was gushing all over the place. [​IMG]

    Another note: the weight of the ice can do a lot of damage to your gutters besides forcing water into your house.
     
  3. DougR

    DougR Second Unit

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    I was lazy one year and never bothered clearing the snow off the roof near the gutters ! When the ice dams started to melt,it found it's way into the attic and found some secret passage ways to my Kitchen Ceiling Tiles...... had to replace the whole ceiling that year ! Was NOT a Happy Camper that winter ! [​IMG]
     
  4. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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  5. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    A roof rake isn't a bad idea when you have severe snowfalls over the winter. I used one with great effect about three years ago, but not before the ice dams had formed, allowing water to seep in between my inner and outer walls, damaging the paint and drywall. [​IMG] One of my friends also uses a trick of tying up rock salt in old socks and then spaces them about every four feet in his gutters. Seems to work pretty well at keeping ice from building up, except when the temperature dips into single digits or below.
     
  6. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    FYI: Not a good idea for those with galvenized steel gutters. Salt will cause them to rust.
     
  7. Dick Smyrak

    Dick Smyrak Auditioning

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    Be very careful while using any kind of rake. You can take years of the shingle material off giving you a more pricey problem in the long run.
     
  8. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Your main goal should be to keep all attic roof vents clear of snow. If you have a ridge vent, clear the snow off of it, the goal is to keep the attic ventilated, let the warm air out, once this has been done you will not suffer the damaging ice dams. This only happens when the snow melts from above and hits the unheated area at the eves and freezes.
    This refreeze only takes place when the outside temp is below 32f.
    To check the ventilation of your attic is rather easy, first its best to do this when the air temp is well below 32f, go to a peak on your roof where the snow is deep, remove some down to the shingles, is it wet or granulated as you go down near the shingles?
    If it is, you have to much heat build up in the attic.
    The heat needs to be removed.
    Five years ago I had a severe ice problem and some water damage; I also needed a new roof anyways so I install a complete full length ridge vent. If we have some of those 8"+ snow falls I remove the snow around the vent.
    I’ve never had a problem since.
    I'm also from Minnesota in the north metro.
    Good luck.
     
  9. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Right, but they aren't steel. They're aluminum.
     
  10. DaveMcS

    DaveMcS Second Unit

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    When building a new home, you have a golden opportunity to prevent ice dam leaks. Study a typical sloped residential roof surface and you will see overlapping layers of asphalt shingles, slate, tile, wood shakes or some other roofing material.

    So long as water moves down the roof, this overlapping system works. But if water travels backward up under the overlapping materials, it begins to work its way inside.

    Ice dams form on roofs when the chilled snow-melt water flows down the roof surface and refreezes as it contacts cold shingle, gutter and flashing surfaces whose temperature is below freezing.

    As more water flows down the roof, the ice buildup gets higher and higher. Water builds up behind the dam and can leak into your home.

    Ice dams can form for all sorts of reasons. Where the roof passes over an exterior wall, attic insulation is often thin. Heat can escape from the house and help to melt snow pack that is up on a roof. Ice dams can even form in the center of a roof if conditions are just right.

    The easiest material to install to prevent water from entering your home is an ice dam membrane that is applied directly to the lower edge of the wood surface of the roof before the shingles or roofing material is installed.

    The membranes should also be installed at roof valley locations, places where the roof might change pitches and around all penetrations such as skylights, plumbing vents and other roof vents.

    These membranes often contain rubberized asphalts and an inner sheet of polyethylene.

    They work to seal around all nails that penetrate the membranes as the finish roof is installed. The water from an ice dam will still back up under the roofing materials, but it can't get through the membrane.
     
  11. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    To add further to what I said above, I have also noticed allot of homes in the north metro with huge ice build-ups.
    Even my neighbor and I just talk about his ice this past week. If I did not remove the snow from on top of my ridge vent, over time it will melt away from the attic heat.
    But as our temps really haven’t made it above 32, this snow only melts to a point of 6” or so above that vent where the attic heat can no longer melt as the outside air temp is fighting the melting process, then it leaves something like an ice dome over the vent when the snow is deep. This ice dome does not let the attic heat out and cold air in.
    Then you will have snow melt under the insulated snow on the roof.
    Just find a way to ventilate and cool the attic.
    Additional insulation does help, although this will not eliminate the problem of poor attic ventilation.
    As Dave said, When I placed on my new roof, I went 9' from the eves with the snow seal membrane.
     
  12. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    One of the best snow rake removal tools I have seen is something my uncle purchased many years ago.
    It has this long plastic sheathing that trails the main head.
    The only part that comes in contact with the shingles is this very slick plastic.
    The plastic is made of that same kind used in those cheap blue sleds that always seem to curl up when you try to use them.
    The plastic is not as nearly as heavy and is about 15' in length and about 18"-24" wide with a long handle.
    As you use this you would stand on the ground and start at the eve and push it upwards, it slides underneath the snow next to the shingles.
    The snow breaks away and just slides down the trailing plastic and falls off the roof. It’s very cool, he has had it for years and saves him a ton of back breaking lifting and save the shingles. If I remember, I’ll give him a call and see if it has a name. Not even sure if they are still made. I suppose a person could make one.
    My uncle's roof pitch made it very difficult for him to go onto the roof.
    This device was the coolest thing I have ever seen/used, It never cause any shingle damage in the twenty-five + years he has used it.
     
  13. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I've come across homes in my travels that have spikes sticking out from the roof on the edges, I pressumed since I was way upstate in NY/VT near the Canadian borders these have something to do with ice buildup, or the prevention of large avalanches, perhaps being a safety issue. Not sure what they're called but that's the only functional thing I could imagine for those spikes.

    Jay
     
  14. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Jerry, it would be great if you can find out the name of that roof rake. Thanks.
     
  15. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Drew,
    It will be a day or two, I just called and he is away for the next few days.
    This may be a DIY project, It does work very slick.
    I just haven't seen anything for sale like this in the cities. Sounds like a good project to make some cash [​IMG]
     
  16. David Range

    David Range Agent

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    Jay, those could be spikes to prevent pigeons from roosting on the roof. I have some installed along some decorative pieces under the roof for that same purpose.
     
  17. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Drew,
    I went to take a look at the tool yesterday and all that was visible was some glue residue that was left on the handle from a label, sorry it looks like I was little to no help. [​IMG]
    Maybe you can purchase a few supplies and make one.
    I should have taken my digital camera with me so that I could post a picture of it.
    With the description and concept explained above you should be able to make something relatively cheap that would work as well.
    Good luck
    -Jerry
     

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