It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter. That much is expected and part of Maine’s charm. The long sequence of major snowfalls we had from mid-January to the end of March also revealed some important problems with the old house. Because of renovation decisions made in the early 70’s, the roof insulation is totally inadequate, and it will be very difficult to ever improve the situation.
First, the photographic evidence.
Ice accumulation represents lost heat through the roof. We’ve always had periods of icicles hanging from the front, but this is the worst we’ve seen it too date. Normally, this south facing side develops some ice and then the sun melts everything before the next storm. The closely spaced storms and extremely cold weather never allowed the ice to melt. And yes, there were ice dams. We have never had leakage before but this year water got in behind the second floor windows and ran down inside the wall, reappearing in the just finished living room ceiling. Bummer. We’re used to getting ice dams in the back of the house. The back (north side) is easily accessible from the ground so I rake the roof after storms and knock off developing ice at the edge. Unfortunately, I never took a picture of the north side ice dams – pretty impressive.
Adding to the roof insulation will be challenging because of the way the third floor was renovated. There was decision to have a cathedral ceiling and exposed beams. Beautiful and we love the space, but it means there’s only about 3-4 inches of space left for insulation. The space is currently filled with fiberglass batting. Our choices would be to lose the exposed beams and lower the ceiling, or to raise the roof. Maybe a roof on top of the roof. The latter is the most likely direction, but not for some years.
Meanwhile, a couple more fun winter pictures.