“What do you mean that leak isn’t covered under my warranty?”


A sentence that many Northeast Ohio homeowners have echoed a lot over the past few weeks.  As frustrating as this sentence is to hear, it is the stance of every shingle roofing manufacturer.  Even the most comprehensive warranties do not cover ice dam leaks due to the unpredictable nature of how and why they form.  However, there are things that homeowners can do to protect themselves.

The minimum may not be enough- Building codes and manufacturer specifications recommend installing ice and water shield a minimum of 24″ inside the building wall along the gutter edge of the roof.  Since standard ice and water shield comes in a 3′ wide roll, installing only a single course on a home with a 1′ overhang may be adequate to meet the minimum recommendations.  However, the fine print of any warranty will include some type of clause that identifies leaks that occur due to ice backing up the roof past the ice and water shield will not be covered.   Although uncommon, we have witnessed ice dams reaching 10′-12′ up the roofline this winter!  So make sure you are protecting yourself and your home by installing enough ice and water shield to protect against leaks in the toughest winters and not just the minimum.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate- Heat loss through the attic or top floor is the main reason that ice dams form during the winter.  Insulating the attic spaces to stop heat loss will not only dramatically reduce heating bills but drastically reduce the likelihood that large ice dams will form.

Increased attic ventilation- Another way to minimize ice from forming on your roof is to make sure that you have a balanced attic ventilation system.  A balanced system requires equal parts intake (soffit) venting and equal parts exhaust (ridge) venting to help remove excess heat and moisture from the attic spaces.  For those homes that have power exhaust vents, they should never be paired with any other form of exhaust vent systems and should utilize a temperature and humidity controller.

Bathroom/Kitchen exhaust vents- Its common to have bathroom or kitchen exhaust vents run into the attic space and not extended to the outside of the home.  The heat and humidity released into the attic can cause the space to rapidly heat and melt the snow unevenly.  When this occurs, ice dams can form in these areas and often times can lead to leaks.  Ensure that any exhaust units are venting to the outside of the home and not directly into the attic space.


Runyon & Sons Roofing introduces *Ice Protection Plus- What is IPP?  A value added service from Runyon & Sons Roofing that protects our homeowners from ever hearing these words.  How does it work?  Simple, install any full manufacturer roof system from RSR with the following items included and take the worry out of winter:

  • Install 9′-12′ of manufacturer approved ice and water shield at the gutter edges
  • Utilize the double ply flashing strip at the bottom gutter edge that is recommended by the National Roofing Contractors Association
  • Install a balanced ventilation system to meet the recommended 1/150 net free ventilation recommendation
  • Maintain or install a minimum insulation value of R-49 in the attic space

What you get in return:

  • Free emergency steam ice removal to immediately stop any leaks
  • Free repair to the area to prevent future leaks (labor & material)
  • Repair cost up to $1,000 for any incidental damages caused by the leak
  • 100% piece of mind!


*Some restrictions may apply.

Categories → Promotions Roofing Education Winter Services
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