It Was, And There Was, Everywhere But That Was Not The Problem.

Tt Was, And There Was, Everywhere But That Was Not The Problem.

Yes, It was mid winter, it was a condo, and there was snow and ice everywhere but that was not the problem they’d brought me in for.

No their problem was quite obvious and visible, so they thought, but they didn’t understand why.

That’s why I was there.

They had water damage on the ceiling and sidewall of an archway, two distinct areas and a significant amount of water.

 The year before they had had water damage on the ceiling of the floor above and had the roof patched and the ceiling repaired and repainted. They couldn’t understand where the water came from. How it could be there while the floor above was dry.

There was no plumbing in that part of the house to leak.


This shows the arch between the dining area and the sunroom addition. The water, and therefore the damage, is concentrated to the left corner of the arch and to the right end wall. You can see this in the 2 following photos.

 In the photo above please take note of the position of the patio doors that can be see on the second floor (through the sunroom glazing.).

 water damage water damage 2

The room above (2nd floor, where the previous years damage had been) was in good shape. The ceiling was intact and unmarked except for one spot that looked like water at a seam/ joint in the gyproc. And there was some faint discoloration along the ceiling molding of the exterior wall.

The walls and floors showed no signs of damage. The areas around the sliding doors were particularly closely examined but no damage observed.

The exterior flashing, cladding and caulking were all in good order, properly installed and keeping the water out.

Then I looked up.    Icicles

icicles icicles centericicles gutter

Yes icicles are not rare, but they always tell a story. The kernel of this one is this;

              soffit icicles

These icicles show that water is behind the shingles. So once I was in the attic I verified that the soffit venting had not been done right and the insulation fully blocked what there was.

This means the heat loss from the home warms up the roof (instead of venting harmlessly to the outside).

The warm roof melts snow. That water freezes at the edge and gutter. This builds up an ice dam.

That ice dam holds water behind it, which backs up under the shingles and gets inside. The snow cover on top (light and fluffy) acts as an insulation and keeps it all from freezing. So with these conditions water gets in significant amounts.


Last years leaking had been around the plumbing and exhaust vents, slightly higher up the roof. The damage was more into the room ceiling on the second floor.

 This years damage was different. The ice dam formed more typically right at the edge of the roof, built up from the frozen guttering at the edge. The snowfall this winter was also deep and early. So this dam reservoir was well insulated for a long time. That allowed a lot of water to get in.

 Why did it not show up on the second floor this year?  And why did it go down to the lower first floor?

It wasn’t exclusive but most of it went down the walls rather than onto the ceiling under the attic because the water entered right at the bottom edge of the roof and once inside it went down the walls rather than over the ceiling.

  Remember the first picture showing the sliding patio doors above the sunroom?  The water could not run down where the doors were, so it flowed down either side.

That’s why there are 2 distinct areas of damage on the lower level.




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post