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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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