Roof leaks

Published on April 8th, 2016 | by Henri

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Melting snow gets into walls

Q.  Our house is 22 years old with the original roof and horizontal siding. Two parts of the roof meet and a lot of snow piles up there. We had a snow storm this past winter, and after the sun started to melt some of the snow, we noticed icicles hanging out from between some of the horizontal siding on the house. We never saw that before.

The outside stain on the siding looks like it will peel, and it has already done so in one small spot. Did water seep through the roof and behind the siding? Do you think the 2x4s are wet? Do you think we have rot? Would this attract bugs?

A.  Yes, snow melting behind an ice dam got under the shingles and penetrated the house walls. It is not possible to determine the extent of the water penetration within the walls, but the 2-inch x 4-inch studs are not the only concern. Of greater concern is the condition of the insulation in the walls.

However, it may simply be a case of a small water penetration that only got between the sheathing and the siding and that came out at the joints of the siding boards.

If this is the first time you have seen this, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Summer’s heat should dry things up pretty well, but you may see more peeling paint.

Carpenter ants are always on the look-out for new nests and they seek wood affected by moisture; just keep an eye on any signs of activity, and if you see any, call a local, family-owned pest management professional.

A 22-year-old roof (assuming it’s asphalt or fiberglass shingles) has lived a long life and may need to be replaced soon. When you do so, be sure that an ice and water protective membrane is put down on all eaves; the membrane needs to go up the roof at least three feet if you have small overhangs, and higher if you have large overhangs. It also needs to be installed around any skylight, chimney and any other roof penetration. That will be your assurance that melting snow will no longer penetrate the house.

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