Friday, February 20, 2015

bought myself a present

Yesterday I bought myself $200-worth of this:

because this:

 It's not the weight of the snow on the roof that drove my decision to clear it, though the weight is a real concern this year.

I fretted about it, but was prepared to tough it out
and trust that the century-old roof would hold up under the weight of the unusually heavy snowload.

No, this was the deciding factor:

Which soon became this:

Ice damming was causing trapped meltwater on the roof
to find its way down through the walls.
And with all that snow still on the roof,
the meltwater flow was just beginning.

I called the carpenter who worked on my porch to ask if he could recommend someone to clear my roof.
He offered to come and do the job himself.

He said of all the roofs he has ever shoveled,
my roof had the most massive ice dams
he has ever seen.

I was so proud.

(Not really.)

In case you are not familiar with ice dams,
they happen when the snow on a roof begins to melt, often because of warmth rising through the roof from the house beneath, but also when the weather warms up a tiny bit. That meltwater trickles down the slope, under the snow, and either makes it over the edge of the roof to become icicles or freezes into a ridge of ice parallel to the low edge of the roof. If conditions remain the same, the ice builds up into a solid wedge. Meltwater that becomes trapped behind it begins to seek an alternate downward route. Under shingles. Through walls.

Here's a good view of a dangerous thing: 

Ice dam under snow - see the wedge? 

Same dam, snow removed.

The carpenter worked hard for over two hours.
I was very happy to have him here,
and I was happier still when he got off the roof.
It's steeper than it looks.
In past years I've always cleaned the chimney myself,
and I've done other work on the roof from time to time.
But at no point in my life would I have cheerfully
gotten up on that roof with a snow shovel.

Money well spent.

Gosh, what a winter.


  1. Oh, I've been worrying about you and the snow and the potential melt. So glad you had help with the damming. Ice dams can lift the roof right off. Ask me how I know this...

    1. Yes, it has been a concern pretty much every waking moment for weeks now. I had tried to find someone earlier, but since losing my cellphone (you haven't found it, have you?) I had zero contacts and no luck finding someone new. Finally occurred to me to call the carpenter's uncle. He has done some fencing for me in the past, and actually recommended his nephew for carpentry work. So glad I did - also gave me an opp to say what a fine job his nephew did on the porch!

    2. And now I have his number again! I am considering a tattoo....

  2. Bravo Carpenter and Quinn!
    Great decision and amazing photographs. I'd put the one of the ice damn on Pinterest and the local news station. I'm sure it can help a lot of people see what they are really up against.

    1. It did look odd when most of the snow was off and just the ice dams were revealed!

  3. Never knew that. I learnt something today :)

    1. I hope you never need to use the information! Much more interesting in theory than practice.

  4. Here in the UK there was a news report on how the snow is affecting the USA. There were pictures of hot springs that had frozen! And of the Niagara falls with icicles. I guess you are having a tough time. Stay safe!

    1. It's the relentless quality that is a bit hard to take...storm after storm after storm. And more snow predicted this weekend.
      But it won't last forever,,,will it?

  5. I'm just glad YOU didn't try and go up there - damn Dams! Stay warm - thinking of you! XOXO

    1. Not a chance! Not even on my Best Day ;)

  6. So glad you found someone who would do that scary job! I'm amazed he did not fall off the roof. Well worth $200!

    1. I admit, until he was safely off the roof I kept waiting to see him come tumbling down. The odds were high that he would have landed in deep powder, but still...nobody likes to fall off a roof!

  7. sending you a PM, in the meantime...saw on fb a shovel, looked like |_|, long handle and piece of what looked to be yellow plastic hanging down between the | | part. as the person shoveled, the snow came off in large chunks that slid down the plastic to land harmlessly on the ground. no climbing on the roof, much safer, much!
    yeah. ice dams. I AM SO OVER WINTER!!! ahem.

    1. Do you mean the person is on the ground and pulling the snow down instead of on the roof pushing it off? I don;t believe I've seen that item, unless it's something like what they call a "snow rake" around here.

  8. All that weight is not a good thing, for sure, and ice dams can cause all sorts of roof damage. I'd say it was $200 well spent!

  9. What a winter!!! That's a lot of snow.

    We get lots and lots of snow every year, and we had that ice dam problem. So, we got a "hot roof" installed, with heaters that melt the snow evenly and prevent those ice dams from forming.

    I'm so glad you got your roof shoveled! Your carpenter seems like a super good guy.

  10. Glad you saw the water seeping down walls early and that your carpenter came and shoveled the snow off your roof.

    I'm here from Sandra's blog Thistle Cove Farm, and just became a follower of yours, as your blog inspires me and makes me feel thankful for my life.


  11. Oh my goodness, you can tell we don't get snow where I live because I have never heard of an ice dam. That is one heck of a pile up on your roof. Thank goodness your carpenter took care of it. Hope you won't have much more before spring arrives. Stay safe and warm!

  12. Sorry, I didn't find your cellphone. I did find mine, and the slippers, and the beads and the beading elastic. But I am thinking of going into a micro business, Freelance Finder! except that I'm better at Freelance Loser.

    Whenever you find your cell again, here's a thought: I have a lot of little knitted and crocheted purses which exactly fit my phone, and hang around my neck on a crocheted strap. I've given a lot of them away, too. As a seasoned knitter, you could make one. Not that it totally prevented my own loss, but it's very handy if you take a fall or something, to have the phone already present and ready to use. Just sayin.

  13. Oh my! That's a lot of snow settled on that roof. Glad you were able to get it cleared. Water does have a way of winding and finding a way out and through no matter what. Take care, Tammy

  14. Glad you got your roof shoveled. Definitely money well spent- especially considering the ice damn. Thanks for sharing the pictures (I didn't know what one looked like- even though I am surrounded by snow). Good luck and come on spring. :)

  15. That snow just keeps coming doesn't it. I knew what an ice dam was but I have never seen one before, we just don't get enough snow. Yours is both awesome and scary in equal measure, given that theoretically it could fall on someone! So glad you got it sorted,

  16. Wow! That is a lot of snow! I hope your carpenter solved the problem and that the woodwork has not been damaged. We just had snow in Jerusalem and for us it is very exciting! Nothing like your quantities though!

  17. Goodness. Peace of mind is priceless so it sounds like money well spent. I'm glad you had someone who could do it for you. I've never seen so much snow - we only ever have a sprinkling and so is a cause of much excitement but I have been following your posts and can imagine it's impact. Take care and stay warm, J9 x

  18. wow living in a usually normal winter climate I learned new stuff today.
    Sorry you had to spend good money on the roof shoveling but in the end it saved many more $$$ on interior repairs I bet. It sure looks like a LOT of snow


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