Last night, the girls alerted me to a leak that started in one of the rooms upstairs.
Right near an outlet, too. So they shut down their computers and unplugged the power bar as soon as they could.
The water was coming in between the window box and the moulding. It was leaking out the bottom, too, for a while.
These windows were installed just this past summer. Wherever the water is coming from, it’s going into the wall, first. The girls crawled out to clear things a bit, and they found the wall itself was quite dry on the outside.
I emailed my brother about it and he thinks this has been an annual leak; we just happen to be here to see it. Even when my dad was still living here, the upstairs was hardly used and, in the winter, blocked off completely at the stop of the steps, to conserve heat.
It stopped leaking during the night, but now there is water damage to the nice, new window frames.
There is a similar water stain on the bottom of the frame.
So today, the girls crawled through the window to try and clear the roof as much as they could. This is what they found.
This moss is over the north window (it’s the south window that’s leaking). After speaking with my brother, he tells me that moss has been there for many, many years. They had replaced the rotten wood all along the outside wall this past summer, too. He also cleared the eaves (I believe they are called gutters in other parts of the world) several times over the summer.
This is the ice dam they found under the snow; my daughter included her thumb for perspective on how thick the ice is. Unfortunately, the ice was going under the shingles in some places, so they couldn’t get it off without damaging the shingles.
Check out the beautifully clear – and empty – eavestrough!
This section of the roof was raised to make more room in the second floor, so the slope is not as steep as it should be. Now that the upstairs is being used and heated, even though there has been very little snow this year, it would be melting from underneath and not draining as well as it should.
They also got a picture of this for me. I asked my brother about it, and apparently it has always been like this (I was very young when I was clambering on the roof as a child, so I did not remember it). So the water is draining directly onto the shingles, rather than down the side of the building.
Not that there is much water to drain right now, since it’s not melting into the eavestrough.
This is not the only area with potential problems. These are new icicles outside our living room window. Formed between the eavestrough and the eave.
Apparently, my dad did not believe in soffits.
This ice jam has formed at the corner between the master bedroom and the old kitchen. I’m told it’s an annual thing.
You can see the pruning saw leaning against the wall in the corner. It’s on a very long pole. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to do the actual pruning, before the sap flows, as we wanted to.
This section of tree is the one that’s causing the most problems for the shingles. Despite my brother cutting it back over the years, branches are touching the roof again.
I wasn’t able to unhook the broken branch that’s stuck on the TV antennae support wire.
The only way to make it not be a problem anymore is to cut that whole “branch” (it looks like a trunk!) back to the main trunk. To do that, though, it has to be cut back in sections, so as not to cause damage to the house as the pieces fall.
Theoretically, it can be done with a ladder, but the safest way to do it is with a lift bucket. Because a chainsaw would be the best tool for the job, and using a chain saw while on a ladder is just not ideal!
No one has lift buckets around here. We’d have to hire someone.
We do have chain saws here. There are three of them in the garage. I’m pretty sure one of them used to be ours; we’d given our chainsaw to my late brother before we moved out of province. No need for a chainsaw when living in a city apartment! It’s unlikely any of them work. We’ll have to get some maintenance done on them.
It is not the only tree that needs to be cut back severely back there; there is another huge maple with a large trunk leaning towards the house.
Then there is the tree in front of the kitchen window.
Let’s look at this photo again.
Ideally, we’d get rid of it completely. It’s the reason the eavestroughs needed to be cleared so often. I was thinking we might be able to, say, turn the stump into the support for a table top, so we’d have a sort of picnic table out there, but this is a Chinese Elm. It has been cut back severely in the past, but it just grows back. Apparently, these trees are very hard to get rid of. It was a mistake to plant such a large tree so close to the house, but I think my mother had wanted the shade, and this is a variety that grows very quickly.
Little by little, we will figure out what needs to be done, and do it. The challenge will be to prioritize things!