New roof, but it still leaks in winter

Q. Two years ago we put on a new roof, but leaks at the eaves continued. Last year we reroofed again, but melting snow still makes for leaks. What can we do? A heat tape at the edge of the roof does not help. Hazel Willitt Porter, Ind.

A. Your roofing must be some type of shingle as opposed to a hot-mopped felt roofing. Right?

Roland Eldridge of Sandwich, Mass., wrote us: ''Fifty years ago around Hanover, N.H., we double-boarded the roofs of most houses to take care of ice at the eaves. After a single layer of roofing (sheathing) was applied, we placed 1x 2 stripping over the rafters and added another roof (sheathing.) Over the second layer went the shingles.

''An air space between the trim at the eaves and a raised cap at the ridge allowed the warm air to escape.''

Mrs. Hugh M. Kingery of Denver, Colo., concurred that this double-roof-sheathing-with-air-space method eliminated ice dams and the resultant leaks at the eaves.

Some roofers install sheet metal under the last courses of shingles at the eaves. The metal then lays over the gutters or fascia, thus preventing ice dams which make for moisture backup and leaks.

Howard M. Deer of Minneapolis wrote: ''I believe that the cause of ice and water backup on the roof is not the use of too much insulation, but rather not enough.

''Because of insufficient insulation heat passes through the roof and melts the snow which then runs toward the edges of the roof.

''If the roof were fully insulated the snow would melt evenly all over the roof, including that part above the roof overhang. Thus, with a fully insulated roof a person not only reduces any water damage problems but also reduces his heating costs.''

Have you checked the tightness of the attic insulation where it reaches the outside upper wall plate? Heat loss there may contribute to the melt/dam/leak problem in your house.

Bradley M. Cooper of Littleton, N.H., wrote: ''The best solution is to remove the finish board under the eave and install a wire screen. I used to have icicles 12 feet long on my house. Now I never have them and it also saves electricity (heat tape).''

You and your roofer may want to sort out these various techniques and see which one or combination thereof might stop the eave leaks on your particular house.

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