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Wednesday, 09 February 2022


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Nylon stockings, those were the days.
Anyway, each pair of tights cuts down to two stockings.

Mike wrote, " ... so there's still room for more insulation—Rockwool, maybe?"

Injected Foam Insulation may be your solution. A quick internet search turns up dozens of companies, large and small, happy to install it in exchange for some number of your dollars. I understand that it is appropriate for existing walls and roofs as well as new construction.

I have gutter heating wires on the north-facing side of my house (no need on the south side) and they work well. I installed them myself on the first round (and had bruised and bloodied knuckles) but hired an electrician to re-install them when they reached their rated lifetime.

Almost everyone in our neighborhood has them.

Two inches isn't a lot of insulation. Some guick googling suggests that:
1) closed cell foam R-value = 6.7-7/inch
2) open cell foam = 3.8/inch
3) fiberglass batts = 2.9-3.8/inch
4) blown cellulose = 3.1-3.8/inch

So, assuming your spray foam was closed cell, you're around R-13 or R-14. Not great, which you have already figured out.

De-icing cables will help, but since your pool shed gets daily-use and is a long-term investment it would seem prudent to fully insulate your roof. Better in winter and summer. The easiest approach would be to complete your spray foam journey. I was going to suggest putting in a ceiling and going the blown cellulose route, but I recall some issues with the rafters and stringers from an earlier post. Still might be worth investigating.

As for the pool table being an impediment, if you protect the surface with blankets and tarps don't you have a large and stable step ladder?

Keep a sheet of 3/4 A/C plywood and some packing blankets in your stash. Very handy, always.

Packing blankets can protect the table when you lay the ply over it. Then rent a Baker scaffold and you can DIY your insulation. You can also rent the gear for blown-in insulation. It's not rocket science, and you seem fairly handy.

If you ever need space for some print evaluations or some such, you can use those blankets and ply on the pool table.

Roof rake? We have a spot on our Boston 3-unit condo building where dams are prone to form. It's right above our small second-floor back porch and the solution is to drag the fresh snow off the roof at that point with a roof rake. It telescopes to about 20 feet long, so I'm guessing that you could pretty much clear your whole shed roof from the ground. No installation needed. Roof raking is the culminating event in our snowfall triathlon: sidewalk, driveway, roof. When I rake the roof there's no place for the snow to come but right down on my head, so that's why it's the final event.

I used deicing wires one year but quit when I realized they were using 700 watts 24/7 all winter.

What I used after that was a plastic blade 30" by 15") on a long pole to pull the first 4 feet of snow off the roof when it snowed. I think you can buy them at Home Depot or Menards or Lowe's. The long pole comes in sections and you can use 2 or 3 depending on the height of the roof. It worked pretty well.

More insulation is better, of course.

Icicles is as you have found out, a sign that the roof is not insulated enough.

The cheapest way to solve this short term right now, is to lower the temperature inside the shed so no water melts on the roof.

Yes it sucks to have the shed cold some parts of the year, but that's the price to pay when not constructing a roof for the climate. :-(

Two words: roof rake. It's much cheaper and safer than mucking about with electricity or chemicals.

I have a roof rake. When the snow starts building up on your roof you rake it off so when it melts there isn’t enough water to cause ice dams. They’re fairly inexpensive, start at around $30 at hardware stores and building supply stores. They’ve worked well for me in Minnesota.


Have you been using a roof rake to remove the snow that falls on the roof? They are of no use with ice storms and they require a light touch (lest you ruin the roof shingles), but they can save your roof.

I’m in MN, Mike.

Roof raking after every significant snowfall.

Good exercise, too.

2 inches of insulation, even closed cell phone, isn't code anywhere. "Flash and batt" and add another 20 inches or so of fiberglass or rockwool and you'll have a good performing room.

The electric cables use a lot of energy, can embrittle shingles and need to go on before the ice forms to have a hope of working.

I can't remember how your roof system is set up, but is it possible to ventilate an "attic" space. We always tried to keep a cold roof/warm ceiling by allowing a space for cold air to enter through the eaves (above any insulation) and exit through a roof vent. That keeps the roof cold so ice won't form.

But if you've already sprayed foam against the roof sheathing at the eaves, ventilation won't be possible. In that case, the heat cables are your best bet. As you say, you only have to run them when the ice starts to form.

Foam insulation boards are one of the easiest ways to add R-value to a roof, but they usually require new sheetrocking, too. It's a day's job, with a helper. A 2" thick 4x8 board promises R-13 for $39. Thicker sheets are available, too. I used them to thermally isolate the cinder-block walls of my home office. Not being from the Northern Tier, I couldn't say how much thickness would solve your ice dam issue, but it has to help!

How about you skip the sheetrocking, which is certainly the hardest work, and string some sheets of fabric under the foam-foil ceiling panels? Make it look like a Mediterranean alleyway, or a French bordello. Portrait backdrops would give you an easily changeable color field look. How 'bout it?

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