Starring Alanis Morisette as God

We will most likely have another winter weather “event”, but it sure feels like spring will be here soon. After 2 days of sub-freezing weather and ice, it was 46 degrees today, sunny, and most of the ice has sublimated back into the air. Although DeShawn’s school was still closed, we drove into Charlotte and spent most of the day at my office.

Besides telecommuting Monday and Tuesday, I got a little more paint removed from the woodwork in the upstairs bathroom. The commute to Charlotte everyday is not a drain, but not having to do it sure gave us more free time around the house after work hours. Very soon, it will be time to call the plumber and have him cap off the water lines going upstairs so I can remove all the fixtures and piping.

Yesterday, Tuesday morning, we removed the 1/2″ of ice coating the driveway with a hoe and broom. Tracy Vines of 116 Henry Street offered some rock salt but I was afraid of its effect on the grass and cats. Besides, how else am I going to get any exercise if I don’t spend 3 hours breaking the ice off the driveway? God bless the Vines, they still haven’t figured out how backward their (relatively) new neighbor is.

All the melting ice spawned a problem for us not usually found this far south: an ice dam. DeShawn discovered it despite his lack of vocabulary to describe. “It’s dripping! It’s dripping!” he yelled while bounding up the steps into the addition. It was definitely dripping, all down the front of the built-in cabinet (see the floorplan for physical reference). Less than 15 minutes after discovery and frenzied evacuation of the cabinet, we had collected a half gallon of water. I drilled a hole in the top of the built-in to speed the drainage and prevent saturation of the entire ceiling.


1/2″ Ice on the driveway

Ice dams form at the bottom of a roof where melt water runs down from the warmer upper sections of the roof. The cooler lower section remains frozen longer and holds the melt water on the roof, saturating the shingles and creating a temporary leak. The Dixie version we spawned occurred where the flat roof of the addition abuts the fascia of the original roof at the back of the kitchen. Ice on the flat roof was catching the melt water from the original roofline and soaking the ceiling and built-in cabinet in the addition. Approximately 5 gallons of water all told leaked thru.

It’s a common and frequent comment from every person who ever to try to restore or work on an old house but….What were the previous owners thinking??!! In this case, why would anyone build an addition with an absolutely flat roof? Not a sub-standard slope, not an oh-so-slightly slope, but a flat-like-a-tabletop non-slope on the roof.

In every forum about old house work, every book about home repair, and all the advice from any professional will always direct the novice old house restorer to focus on structural issues before starting cosmetic work, with VERY specific recommendations to fix roof and foundation problems first. So far, we’ve been getting by on the shoestrings put in place by the PO’s to make the house sell, things like the latex roof sealant over the bitumen roof. Providing we get thru the spring rains, more attention on the foundation and roof is sure to be on the dance ticket for the summer.