Diagnostic Icicles

Icicles indicate paths of water flow on buildings, and sometimes can alert us to problems. Water may be the biggest enemy of buildings; even tiny amounts of water can destroy buildings over time. Water can wear away the earth near a foundation and cause structural problems, it can rot away wood framing, and it can cause mold damage or deterioration to finishes if it gets inside a building.

icicles upper roof

The icicles on the roof in the photo above tell us that the roof has no gutter. That’s probably fine; it’s an upper level roof, and water flows right off it onto the lower roof. The lower roof has a gutter and downspout, so the water d0es flow away from the building. (Or it will, after the ice melts.)

icicle gutter hole

The photo above shows an icicle where we shouldn’t have one – descending from that rust spot we shouldn’t have. There’s a hole in this gutter. If you see an icicle coming from the middle of the bottom of your gutter, you probably have a hole in your gutter, and you should consider replacement. Water dripping out of this hole could travel along the outside of the gutter, get between the fascia and gutter, and cause rot.

icicle roof leak

The weird icicles above are telling us about several problems on the garage in the photo. My kids asked why the icicles are rusty. I think the water that formed them was just dirty water, but it’s possible that it was rusty water. Those icicles coming down on the face of the garage door indicate that the roof is not keeping water out of the building. The icicles descending from the face of the wall above the door indicate that the roof isn’t flashed into the gutter. The icicles descending from the gutter indicate that the gutter is, well, broken. I should probably mention these things to the homeowner, because this isn’t the first season we’ve seen these rusty icicles. (Homeowners, don’t put off fixing things like this!)

icicle April Colorado

The icicle in the photo above is a fairly normal sight. If you see this, you might be in Colorado in April. If you live in a place that gets snow but no icicles, it means you live under perpetually cloudy skies, and that is sad.

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