I had never heard of ice dams until this winter when suddenly everyone started talking about them. Sure enough, we have ice dams ourselves, massive ones.
It’s been a tough season, with nearly 80 inches of snow falling in a short period of time. The weight of all this snow thickly blanketing our roofs turns out to be a big problem, leading to many building collapses. Over three hundred farm buildings have been crushed by roof snow here in Connecticut, including greenhouses and barns. We’ve lost a bakery, factories, and some houses. So far our house, the kiln shed, and other outbuildings have not threatened to come down. Fingers crossed.
The kiln shed, which at first I was very concerned about is probably ok as long as I don’t fire. Right now, it is cold inside the shed and cold outside. I won’t fire until we get the snow off the roof.
The dams are another story. They form when all that roof snow starts to melt from underneath and then refreezes at the edges of the roof, forming what looks like a mound of glass. This damages the roof and water often ends up inside. The dam that formed across the front of the house was worrisome, but the dams across the back, especially on the upper roof, were downright frightening.
We started with a stain over the dining table that spread, amoeba like, across the ceiling. Then another stain. And another, in amazing shades of orange and black. And then the drips. Water was coming in from the upper roof, through the walls and into the ceiling and then into the rooms.
I grabbed buckets and plastic from the studio. Luckily I have lots of both. My huge concern was (and still is) the books. To say I was freaking out would be an understatement. Much of my ceramic library is irreplaceable. My horticultural collection was nearer the drips and in more danger. Many of these books are also irreplaceable. The bedroom, which is also lined with bookshelves, started leaking too. We used so much plastic, there was nothing left to wrap a pot in.
We hired a crew of roofers to clear a three foot swath from the dams, which is recommended. They would not touch the ice dams though. No one will. One idea is to put calcium chloride on the on them, but since our lower roof is metal, we cannot do that. Salt eats metal.
The temperatures are rising. The dams are melting a bit. We hold our breaths. What we want is a melt but not a fast melt. What we do NOT want is rain. For now, the leaks have stopped.
Meanwhile, the cats think it is all a frolic. Jake never met a bowl he didn’t want to curl up in. Despite the drips, he hopped into my glaze basin. Misty hovered near by. She doesn’t even like Jake, but she loves water. We’ve spent considerable time shooing them away, as of course it is not good for them.