Ice Damming Problem


Hello everyone. I am hoping to get some professional opinions on an ice dam problem on a home we are considering purchasing. The home was built in 2003, is in WI, and is supposedly an energy star home. However, I can tell from looking at melting at the ridge vent on the peak that there is heat entering the attic from somewhere. This is causing snow melt and ice damming primarily in a valley where a copper roof on a “cupola” meets the main roofing pitch with standard 35 yr shingles. There is water running down the wall from the soffit, but I can’t tell if it is coming from the exterior of the soffit by wicking back up from the underside, or coming from the inside and out through the soffit.

There are no water stains anywhere on the ceilings in that part of the home or anywhere else, but there is a popped drywall screw in the general area of the picture. The screw isn’t rusty, but could be an indication of something going on inside.

This is a historic year for snow in this part of WI, so this is as bad it will get. I am hoping to determine if this is something we should open the wall and ceiling to see if there is water damage or if it is all exterior at this point and I should focus on reducing heat. We will definitely be including an inspection with the offer, but I am not sure how much an inspector could determine from a mostly visual inspection.

Thanks for any help you can provide!


Here is a wider picture to give you an idea of the copper valley area.


Looks like snow melt and refreeze. As the sun melts the snow on the top of the roof, the water runs down, when it hits the section of the roof That is still shaded and below freezing it re freezes.

It may or may not be a problem. Hard to tell without seeing in person. I would ask a good local roofer to take a look at it now, then come back after it melts to check out the roof and make sure everything is ok. As long as there is ice shield installed in that area it should be fine for now but could lead to issues down the road.