Freeze back? Water coming in a window...

I had a new roof put on in 1998, with a 10 year unconditional warranty. Water is coming in though a window casing. Apparently snow on the roof is melting, coming in though the roof, coming down the Cathedral ceiling into the wall, and then leaking through the window casing. The roofing company says it is perfectly normal "freeze back" and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the roof.
I have never heard of "freeze back" before. Is it a roof problem that needs to be fixed?
Last year I had a leak from improper flashing and it took me a month to get him to pay for the repairs. He insisted I had no warranty despite what the contract says; so I am not really inclined to trust him now.
Thanks.
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Sounds like what they call "Ice Dam". There is some special rubber stuff to avoid this condition. New roof shouldn't do it. Google "Ice Dam damage"
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Several issues here:
1) The warranty covers THE ROOF, particularly the shingles, although if the tarpaper was defective, you'd probably have some recourse there, too. The installer probably also has his own warranty on the work itself.
2) "Freeze back" - never heard of it, but around here, we say "ice damming". Someone will probably chime in and say there's a difference, and there probably is. But, it doesn't matter. The general condition is part of an evil cycle of melting and re-freezing water, which will make your life miserable. Be glad you don't have chunks of plaster turning to mush and falling off, as my ex-wife does. Some years, nothing happens. Other years, it's awful.
3) Although it's not technically the installer's responsibility to use his brain and help you improve your insulation & ventilation, it would've been good if yours did. Mine did, and conditions in the house improved considerably, especially in one outside corner where lots of heat was escaping to the roofline, melting the snow, and there wasn't enough sun in the winter to keep that melted snow draining into the gutter. Instead, it froze into huge waves at the edges, crept back under the shingles, and made its way into the wall.
Find a mechanical engineer to inspect the situation, and get some suggestions. Usually, what's necessary is better venting in certain areas, and a lot more pink or blown-in insulation in the attic, so the heat rising from the rooms doesn't melt the snow on the roof. Sometimes, soffit vents will do the trick, but other times, you have to put more venting in the roof. You'll want a roofer to do that, unless you're comfortable chopping holes in your roof.
I think the main thing you can blame your roofer for is being young, inexperienced, dumb, or a combination of all three.
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If it is ice damming it may be caused by the attic being too warm which causes some snow to melt at the top and run down only to refreeze near the edge when it falls off into the gutter (which is really cold compared to the roof). You can relieve this by ventalating the attic better. check to see that the soffit vents are not plugged with insulation. Ventalation will equalize the temp inside and outside causing the snow to melt evenly and not freeze only at the gutter.
Observe your neighbors roofs. If everyone is having the same problem, it may be the particular weather cycle is hard on thawing but if your roof seems worse or if it is a constant problem, you have a case for something.
You can always add heater cables along the edge of the roof to actively melt the snow. This is a reliable solution if done properly (don't get cheap and put too little cable in). Can we assume the gutters are clean and not plugged up with leaves or something? If this is ongoing, the cost of the cable will pale in comparison to the cost of repairing water damage.
Now if you went into the attic and added insulation or piled too many boxes near the edge or left the hatch open that would not be a warranty situation (though it would be nice for him to diagnose it for you). However, if he removed the sheathing when you reroofed and disturbed the insulation or failed to install proper vents, then you have a warranty problem. The contractor is probably extending the manufacturers warranty on the materials to include labor to replace those materials but anything else he may not see as included. For example roof flashing can be damaged by high wind even if installed correctly, is that warranty? Can't tell if your problem is due to poor workmanship, defective materials or just premature wearout due to unanticipated harsh conditions.

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Rubber ice shields are common on instals to keep water from entering and causing damage on the first several runs. Did the old roof have them. Did you have a problem before with the old roof or in previous years. Here it is called an ice dam, caused by an underinsulated,or undervented warm attic or area in the attic. Are you sure ice caused it and not something else defective. Well you have a warranty and a case for small claims if he did not exclude Ice Dams. Get a few pros out to find the cause and give a price. Go to court if you feel its right. And fix the attic so it doesnt happen again. Ice shield should have prevented it.
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Take photographs inside & out. Share them with a forensic architect or engineer to investigate. TB
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