Replace Shingles on Roof or Not?

Hey everyone,
My parents have a cottage that has some roof leakage last winter. We live in southern New Hampshire, and last winter was a real real cold one.
My parents are bent on getting the roof re-shingled and having more snow-ice-shield added further up the roof since the leakage was from some serious ice damming along the eaves. Never leaks in heavy rain, only when big ice dams form.
I look at the roof, and see that the shingles are still looking ok, no curling, peeling or racking. Also, I notice the roof has no venting whatsoever. The cottage is one story, and I'm not sure the heated living space is well insulated (I bet it isn't).
What I'm suggesting, is to skip the re-shingle job, and focus on insulating and venting. I want to install a ridge vent and vent holes under the soffits. Then get inside the attic space to see how the living space is insulated, possibly addressing that too.
Does this sound like a good idea? I don't want to see them spend the extra $$ on shingles when they look fine. I think if I can reduce the likelihood of ice dams then I can prevent new leaks from occurring. We must do something before the winter comes.
Also, the living space has a suspended ceiling with an unusable attic space above. Should the roof rafters be insulated, or just the ceiling of the living space?
Thanks for any suggestions.
Jeff F
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***snip***
From the sounds of it, the ice dams are the culprit and not the shingles. It sounds like you may be on the right track with venting the attic space and insulating the attic floor. If you can prevent heat loss into the attic, the ice dams should cease to be a problem.
Chris
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You are on the right track thinking insulation and venting rather than re-roof. The reason for ice damming is the roof is not cold enough. To prevent it, you need a warm house and a cold roof.
But I see the cottage has a problem that the suspended ceiling is right below the rafters. You need to separate the area between the living space and the roof. That space must be insulated and ventilated. Insulated to keep heat in the living space from going in. Ventilated to keep plenty air coming in to keep it cold during winter.
Yaofeng

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