...because home doesn't happen overnight.

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Out of the last three school days, my kids have gone to school one day. We’re buried in snow! I actually don’t mind it – until the snow starts melting and turning everything to mud.

Another problem we’re noticing when the snow melts is ice and snow build up along the gutters. It’s mainly a problem on the south {front} side of the house where the snow melts and slides to the gutters rather quickly. Melting snow slides off the metal roof crazy fast – sometimes in large sheets a la avalanche style. {The north side, or back, of the house has numerous vents and skylights in the roof that break up the melting snow so ice dams aren’t much of a problem there.} At night, the melted snow refreezes and we end up with an icy overhang in the morning. To avoid these small scale avalanches, last year HH installed individual snow guards above the garage and front doors.

The ones above the garage seem to be working properly but that side of the house is west-facing so it doesn’t receive as much sunlight as the front of the house and the snow melts less rapidly. The snow guards above the front door slid off the roof last year. Eeek! HH says it could be due to the fact that they didn’t cure thoroughly before our first big snow last year. He installed the garage cleats in the summer of 2012 but hurriedly threw on the cleats above the front door during colder weather when he realized that snow avalanches weren’t really the best way to greet guests. {In his defense, the front door wasn’t functional then so it didn’t really matter.}

At any rate, HH thinks a snow rail along the perimeter of the entire roof would be the best solution. A snow rail is exactly what it sounds like. You can google images if you aren’t familiar but basically it’s a metal rod system that lines the perimeter of a metal roof just above the gutters. It helps to break up melting snow and it’s a gutter saver. When our metal roof was installed, our roofer didn’t think a snow rail would be necessary since the slope of our roof isn’t that steep. However, we’d rather be safe than sorry. Damaged gutters are no bueno.

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Seeing as how our roof is covered in snow and it’s not even officially winter yet, a snow rail might not happen until spring or even summer of next year. Until then, my stopgap solution is to go out in the morning and break up the ice dams with a shovel to prevent damage to the gutters. It’s not exactly low maintenance but if the snow keeps up my shoulders are going to look buff come spring.

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Still, the snow is pretty, no?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

23 Comments

I live in Dallas so we hardly ever get snow or ice, but this past weekend we were hit with a doozy of an ice storm and I now know EXACTLY what you mean about ice avalanches coming off a metal roof – seeing the ice slide off our metal roof was crazy! And, like you said, now our gutters are damaged. :( A snow rail sounds like it would solve all sorts of headaches.

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10.December.2013

The snow is very pretty and does make you think of different things missing in your home! If you are building a practical wish list, I would add a generator to it. I was in the Dallas storm and my house had no power for 90 hours in the freezing temperatures.

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10.December.2013

I find your comment of “buried in snow” funny. But of course I’m from New England… New Hampshire to be exact. What you have there is considered a “dusting” to me!! But your yard needs a snowman out front. Grab the kids and get moving on that ;)

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10.December.2013

I’m from St.Thomas, Ontario. A couple of weeks ago we got @ 30″ of snow in 12 hours :) Looks beautiful!

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replied on December 10th, 2013

Yikes!

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replied on December 10th, 2013

We live in St. Thomas too!! What a small world!

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10.December.2013

All I can focus on is that beautiful gray front door!

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10.December.2013

It might be work investing in a snow roof rake to get you through the winter. That way you can help the snow down before it freezes over your gutters.

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replied on December 10th, 2013

I’ll second the suggestion of a snow rake.

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10.December.2013

Here in Germany we’ve only had one day of a very little bit of snow yet, but there’s more to come. We have these avalanches from our roof, too, although it’s not a metal roof.
Everything looks so peaceful under that snow, don’t you think!
Jule

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10.December.2013

Is your house staying warm in spite of the sub-freezing temps? I remember you complained once that the ceiling fans in the main room were pretty noisy — did you find a fix for that?

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replied on December 10th, 2013

Our house is nice and toasty! You don’t know how happy we are that we decided to add insulation to the non-insulated exterior walls during renovation. During the day, I turn on the gas fireplace and run the ceiling fans to keep the heat from rising to the top of the room. Once warm, I turn off the fireplace and the house stays warm for a good long while. The furnace / heat pump doesn’t kick on until nighttime when the temps drop and we aren’t using the fireplace.

The fans are on HH’s hit list even though they do their job well. He detests their noisiness! {They don’t really bother me. I guess I’m used to them.} He’s been looking at replacements recently so ours will most likely end up on craigslist.

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10.December.2013

We have that problem too! I’m afraid I’m going to be impaled by a big icicle one of these days! But our house doesn’t have gutters….some weird Nebraska thing. My parents house in CO growing up had a heated wire in a wavy pattern along the bottom of the roof to melt any ice and encourage it to go down the gutters rather than forming icicles or sheets of ice. Works pretty good! Occasionally with the really big snowstorms with over 2 feet of snow, we’ll go out and knock some snow off the roof.

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10.December.2013

This is a great explanation of ice damming for building science geeks. The article doesn’t mention it, but heat tape in your gutters might help.

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-135-ice-dams

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10.December.2013

Winter? What? I thought it was still Halloween… sigh =)

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10.December.2013

heck, yes, it’s pretty. i’m in western australia – i have never, ever, seen snow in real life. it’s on the bucket list i don’t officially have. (a *bitterly* cold winter day here is 16 degrees – celcius, that is. that’s 60 in farenheit. i guess we’d be kind of a california-ish climate? (not that i know how much snow california gets…))

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10.December.2013

Your snow is very pretty. But you can keep it! As much as I’d love a cozy snow day with my kiddos, which we MAYBE get once a year, it makes everything so treacherous for the short while that it’s here that the stress is not worth it to me. Too wet and too many hills–and that’s a bad combination when it’s freezy in Seattle.

jbhat

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10.December.2013

I love your blog and your style! I was shocked when I clicked on it today and saw your post as we are actually doing the same thing right now. We just installed a metal standing seam roof on our ranch house (2/12 pitch) last month. We didn’t install any snow guards because we thought the pitch was too low and we literally have avalanches from the snow. I think our pitch is a little lower than yours judging by the pictures. We are in Rochester, NY so we get LOTS of snow. I have my roofer pricing out different kinds this week. There are some that are glued on and some that are clipped onto the seams. I think I prefer the rails that are clipped onto the seams, aesthetically. If you are interested, you can see my roof on my blog. I’ll be updating with a final roof post soon.

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11.December.2013

can you recommend some solutions for larger entry rugs that look good but also can withstand kids (and adults) coming in with snowy boots from being outside?

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11.December.2013

We call those Roof-alanches! Not the best for greeting guests, though. In the mountains, where there’s lots of snow, they put the door on the triangle end, if you know what I mean.
It looks lovely! I wish we got more then the 2 inches and bitter cold temps that we’ve seen so far this winter. Upper teens and feet of snow would be ideal! I should totally move to the mountains.
Melissa from Minnesota

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11.December.2013

Have you considered investing in a roof heater system? It’s just heated wire that is afixed to the roof. My parent’s live in the eastern Sierras where they get 40-60 feet of snow every year and it works great. Every once in a while they have to knock down the “widow makers” but that beats shoveling the roof!

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12.December.2013

Sympathies on snow issues from northern New England! I have nothing useful to offer–just butting in on this post (with apologies) to thank you for the holiday book list. My Remodelista book just arrived, and I LOVE it. All of it. This is my heart’s desire aesthetic. Too late for a major furniture and decor overhaul at this point, but the book is instructive and just plain gorgeous. This one’s a keeper. So again, big thanks for the recommendation. :)

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replied on December 12th, 2013

So glad you like it!! I keep my copy in my living room and open it often. It is dreamy.

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