Ice Dam Damage Forces Family Out Of Home

By Caroline Lowe, WCCO-TV

St. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Ice dams have caused many problems this winter, but for one family the problems have been so bad they’ve been forced to move out of their home.

Geoff Haas and his family have lived in a house in the Macalester Groveland neighborhood in St. Paul for almost 10 years. But while crews work to repair their damaged home, they won’t be able to live in it until early March.

The damage began to be a major problem last Christmas Eve, when icy water came pouring into Haas’ 6-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

“It’s pretty alarming,” said Haas, recalling that day. “Because it’s Christmas Eve, you can’t get a lot of companies to come out and do the steaming and roof clearing.”

The damage from the ice dam was so bad, Haas, his wife and their two young children were forced to move out for several weeks, first to a hotel and then to an apartment.

“It’s not life and death, of course, but it’s not ideal,” Haas said.

Most of the family’s furniture and toys not damaged by water and ice have been taken away to a storage site where they will be kept while contractors restore and repair the house.

However, the Haas family is not alone this winter, as homes throughout the metro area have been going through the same experience with ice dam damage.

Miguel Duran, who worked on the Haas home, said he works on three new jobs a week.

Despite all the hassles, Haas was philosophical about the whole experience.

“I talked to my friend in New Jersey and he kind of said, ‘Jeez, if the Metrodome roof can cave in, I guess it makes sense’ – and that put it in some perspective,” he said.

  • Billy

    What?? Ice tea

  • paul

    Roof rake and insulation — problem solved.

  • Bob

    When I had a new roof installed 10 years ago, I had a leak-preventing membrane installed between the wood roof deck and the shingles. I haven’t had a leak problem yet, and II’ve had some pretty nasty ice dams.

  • Tony Hardy (HoffmanWeber Construction)

    Ice and water shield is a must on all new roof installations. A GOOD contractor will put 6ft (2rows) on(it may be code in this climate). This is a second layer of protection that goes around all eaves and and in valleys to prevent built up ice from hitting the decking underneath your shingles. A lot of times this happens from improper ventilation/attic insulation. We have a lot of good information on our website that can walk you through the causes and what can be done to prevent damage from happening
    Check out our blog about Ice Dams and how they work. Also included in the link is an article about inspectiions after the winter weather to look for Ice Dam damage.
    If anyone would like an inspection please email at the address

  • Tony Hardy (Hoffman Weber Construction)
  • Jay

    Its not only poor insulation that causes the problems. SOME homeowners dont even think about the buildup on their roofs . All it takes is an eye to take a look at your roofs, a roof rake and a little time to clear built up snow. Our neighbors had 2′ ice dams on his house and never thought to clear the snow off it until we mentioned it to him. A blind eye wont get you anywhere, you have to do your job to protect your home. There is more to owning a home than just paying the mortgage and insurance! Take the time to inspect your attics, add some extra insulation to prevent heat loss which causes melting and freezing and thousands in damages.

  • geoff

    I’m the homeowner. We raked the roof diligently and we’ve had our roof and insulation inspected numerous times within the last few years. I’ve gotten quite an education in roof, insulation, ice dams, etc. this winter. In our neighborhood there are a LOT of ice dams and I can’t recall seeing the same number in previous winters.

  • lazy bones

    @ Geoff, I call B.S. If you had raked your roof you would have no snow to create the ICE. This winter I had 6 in ice dams with ~ 13in of snow or more on my roof. Snow is gone and ice is melting. Again I call B.S. and your story is a non story. I dont feel bad for you. Your Lazy

  • I Wonder If...

    Bottom line – the more you insulate your attic the better and like another poster said, if you are going to replace your shingles make sure your contractor run the ice shield at least 2 rows deep.. And a couple hours with a roof rake goes a looooong way!

    My 2 cents

  • Geoff's friend in Jersey

    @lazy bones, I don’t feel bad for your inept grammar usage in your comment…kind of undermines your point.

  • Shannon

    I know Geoff. And he is far from lazy. How about, extremely busy. A family and two jobs. And how does the following statement offer any advice?
    “This winter I had 6 in ice dams with ~ 13in of snow or more on my roof. Snow is gone and ice is melting.” Sounds like YOU were lazy and are letting Mother Nature take over. Quit being such a hater. The world doesn’t need people like you.

  • solar sails

    You know, if I didn’t know what they meant by ice dam, I still wouldn’t…

    • Cookieknits

      Too right. If we hadn’t had it happen to us once, I would have no idea what the heck this was about. Both my husband and I grew up in an area of northern Wisconsin where it doesn’t happen much because of the depth of the eaves, and because most older homes don’t have gutters.
      We didn’t have a clue that shallow eaves and gutters helped build up an ice dam until our roof started leaking one year.

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